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Identifying And Handling A Toxic High Performer

Things have gotten out of hand…you have an employee that outsells everyone else in the service drive. They’re consistently the highest performer of the bunch. But their attitude is ruining the culture of your dealership. Does this scenario sound familiar to you? We call this kind of employee a toxic high performer. If you’re unsure, here are 5 signs you have a toxic high performer on your hands. 

  • They know how good they are, and it goes straight to their head. 
  • The toxic high performer only looks out only for themself, not the customer or the company as a whole.
  • They’re really good at manipulating management and coworkers to get their way. 
  • The customer only matters when it suits them.
  • They’re good politicians – they can rally the people around them, even if their cause is self-serving. 

It’s a common situation we face in this industry. Not all salespeople are narcissistic or toxic, but the profession can certainly attract the type. When it comes to dealing with this issue, there are different schools of thought. 

It’s a lot easier to just tolerate this situation than it is to make a big change, that’s for sure. You could try moving them into a different role. You could try befriending them and addressing the root cause of why they treat others the way they do. But the reality of the situation is that you’re being held hostage…you’re operating from a place of fear. 

5 characteristics of high-quality technicians

You need to confront the issue head on. With these kinds of issues, be direct. Tell them directly that their contributions are valuable to the team, but that their attitude is affecting everyone around them. You’re a team and you need them to act like a team player.

If they’re receptive to the feedback, you may be able to work things out. But most of the time that won’t be the case, and it’ll be time to part ways. And that’s nothing to be scared about. What you’ll find most of the time is that your numbers won’t decrease drastically. Those hours will actually distribute out more evenly to the other team members. The toxic performer getting 100 hours was actually preventing everyone else from getting their 50 or 60 the whole time. 

It’s an opportunity to learn and get better moving forward. Do what you can to prevent this situation from happening again in the future. 

Preventing Toxic High Performers: Be Proactive

There are plenty of warning signs that an employee may be on their way to becoming toxic. Pay attention to their behaviors and nip it in the bud. 

Preventing Toxic High Performers: Always Be Recruiting

We tend to hold onto problem employees because we don’t have replacements lined up. Create a bench by having good resumes on file.

Preventing Toxic High Performers: Foster Culture

Maintaining a healthy culture in the shop is the best way to prevent toxicity. Play games, get to know each other, and reward collaboration. 


Recap: Identifying And Handling A Toxic High Performer

The bottom line…don’t be held hostage by a high-performing jerk. You’re the manager, you make the rules, and you need to be steering the ship. If you foster collaboration and positivity, you’ll have a group of team players. And of course you can’t control everything, but you can do the work to confront your issues head-on and line up replacements. 

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