Makarios Consulting Blog

Small Business Consulting Tips For Managing Toxic Rainmakers

small business consulting

Nearly every company has one – the rainmaker who can close any deal, rack up impressive sales and charm every client. In some cases, however, that rainmaker has an abrasive personality when he or she is dealing with fellow employees. This can include denigrating other’s work, snapping at coworkers or simply being intolerably arrogant, passive-aggressive or dismissive.

Why aren’t these difficult folks gone? Because they get results. It can be a bitter pill to swallow, but many managers simply ignore toxic rainmakers because they don’t want to lose all that expertise. These employees simply have so much to offer that their superiors are willing to overlook their conduct until it comes to a head. It’s an unfortunate approach, because by the time it all blows up, you’ve let the work environment erode to a level that fuels dissatisfaction in other employees.

Three Choices

There are only a few things you can do once you acknowledge that your rainmaker is toxic. You can ignore the situation, fire them despite their performance or deal with them. Ignoring the problem will only make it grow. Firing a stellar producer may make your team happy in the short term, but you could end up losing clients and revenue. Facing the problem head-on is usually the best solution but it’s also the option that small business consulting firms know is the most difficult.

Managing A Toxic Rainmaker: Small Business Consulting Tips From The Trenches

Managing a toxic superstar is never easy, but years of small business consulting experience have allowed us to put together some solid tips. Keep these in mind when you’re ready to face the behavior of toxic rainmakers and help them modify it.

  • Talk to them privately; humiliating them is counter-productive.
  • Deal with specific incidents when they happen as an on-going effort to point out and correct the behavior.
  • Be willing to listen to their side of the story; they may not be aware of how they sound or the effect their abrasive personality is having on coworkers.
  • Model appropriate behavior and reward your superstars when they take heed.
  • Establish specific, measurable goals for them to achieve, such as taking the time to listen to others without interrupting or letting others take the lead on a project.
  • Don’t give an ultimatum unless you’re truly willing to lose the person. Toxic rainmakers tend to be narcissistic; if you give them an ultimatum, they could walk out the door.
  • Stress the advantages to them of working well with others.
  • Follow up periodically to make sure they’re continuing to make progress.

Our small business consulting expertise can give you additional insight into the problem of toxic personalities in the workplace and how to cope with them. Contact Makarios Consulting today to discuss your options for creating a positive, healthy and productive work environment.

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