Dealing with Toxic Employees

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Nicole DhanrajBy Nicole B. Dhanraj, PhD, CRA, RT(R)(CT)(MR)

At some point in our managerial careers, we encounter the daunting task of managing a toxic employee. Sometimes we hire such employees without recognizing toxic traits; other times we inherit these employees as we transition managerial positions. At some point too, we find ourselves witness to good employees who become injurious to the team, despite our efforts to maintain a harmonious, productive department.

It is any manager’s worse nightmare to effectively manage toxicity within the department. Such personnel management requires focused attention, devouring every iota of administrative time that we don’t have. Consequently, avoidance, ignorance, and frustration are common reactions that managers display in response to managing this toxicity, which opens the door for toxic employees to become viral. If left unaddressed, the situation festers like a silent killer, creating a plume of negative energy that causes a pernicious influence on patient care and operations.

Most of us managers are not practicing psychologists, or versed in human resource tactics, so we attempt to rectify this issue by managing based on our influence, authority, experience, or advice from colleagues. Despite our efforts, it is often difficult to effectively contain such a situation. This places added stress on an already demanding managerial workload. We may be fortunate to have managed these employees successfully, or we may experience failure, become disappointed, or feel judged for our managerial abilities. Fortunately, there are a variety of methods to effectively control and “quarantine” toxic employees. At the 2018 AHRA Annual Meeting, I will share some that I have successfully put into practice.

Are you interested to learn what I did, my lessons learned, and how you can avoid my failures? If you consider yourself an effective manager but still get stuck in such situations, are yet to experience a toxic spill in your department, or expect professionalism and a high-level of emotional intelligence from your colleagues and team members, this session is for you.

Regardless of your years of experience, I encourage you to join me as I present guidelines on differentiating whether employees are toxic, disengaged, or disgruntled, and reveal to you that perhaps it is not the employee, but the organization, or worse yet, YOU, yes YOU, that can be the multicomplex organism breeding toxicity. I will reveal how I broke some barriers cleaning up toxic workplaces and the theoretical concepts I applied in my role as the toxic handler. Please join me on Tuesday, July 24 at 2:15 PM for my session, “Clean Up On Radiology Aisle: How To Effectively Manage A Toxic Employee.”

Nicole B. Dhanraj, PhD, CRA, RT(R)(CT)(MR) is the chief of radiology at Guam Memorial Hospital in Tamuning, Guam. She can be reached at


  1. This sounds like a perfect session for me. Thank you for putting this together and I look forward to meeting you in July!

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