EmployTest Logo

Toxic employees of the month: Overzealous bullies


Are your overzealous bullies ruining the morale of your office?

Are your overzealous bullies ruining the morale of your office?

No workplace can afford to retain toxic employees that bring down the productivity of the entire team. While some may mean well, their lack of enthusiasm, overbearing nature or general unpleasant disposition may drive away customers and future business opportunities. They may even push away other quality employees who cannot bear to work around them. Companies should be wary about hiring any potentially toxic employees.

Last month, we spoke about the downsides of hiring ambitionless workers who simply take up space in an office, never contributing to or bettering their team. The next category of toxic workers that hiring managers should also vehemently avoid is the exact opposite of them – overzealous bullies. They are the martyrs of the office, always overloading themselves with projects, work and staying long hours to get it done.

There is a fine line between hardworking employees and overzealous bullies.There is a fine line between hardworking employees and overzealous bullies.

What is an overzealous employee?
Overzealous employees are the typical “yes” men and women of the workplace, never knowing how or when to say no. While they would seem to be candidates, they also may not know their limits. Though they may take on those extra presentations or projects, what happens when they suffer burn out, have a breakdown or get sick because of all the overtime they are putting in?

Furthermore, while these employees may be “overzealous,” they can become workplace bullies. They may want everyone else to know how hard they are working and will degrade others who they feel are inferior or not putting in as much effort as they are. These employees also tend to complain more than the average worker because they enjoy others knowing how much effort they are investing into their job. They will target other employees, telling them how they need to step up their work or bragging about their own workload, making the office an uncomfortable environment.

“Overzealous employees are the typical ‘yes’ men and women of the workplace.”

Who are the overzealous bullies in your workplace?
These employees are easy to distinguish by their commitment to volunteer for every task. While dedication and hard work are admirable goals for any employee, overzealous bullies will steamroll their coworkers – and even their bosses – to become successful. You can recognize these employees as the team leaders who are unable to delegate responsibilities to their members. They are constantly complaining about how much work they have “on their plate” whenever you see them.

While you may not be able to stifle the ambition in these employees, you can curb it for the sake of your other workers. Begin offering incentives for teamwork or stress the important of collaboration over competition. Also, hold meetings to help employees identify the three categories of burnout – overload, boredom and overworked – and how to avoid them.

If none of these efforts lead to improvement, hiring managers should sit down with their overzealous bullies and encourage them to take time off and to strive for better work-life balance. Emphasize how you value their contributions, but want them to take care of themselves and allow their team to have opportunities to contribute to the creative flow of the office. This way, you won’t alienate these employees who were unknowingly toxic, while still bringing out the best in them.

To avoid hiring further overzealous bullies at your company, begin integrating pre-employment testing into your hiring process. Candidates take these behavioral or skills tests as part of the application process so that hiring managers will know whether they are qualified for the position before even inviting them for an interview. Contact EmployTest today to learn more about how you can avoid hiring toxic employees to your workplace.