When to fire "superstar" employees

Too many of us have been there: you love your team at work, but there's that one bad apple who consistently brings the team down. She might be really smart, really skilled, but socially, she's just not nice. You might even say she's a bully. 

You'd think the easy answer is just to fire such people, but far too often, companies keep them on board because they're so great at the hard skills of their job. The price of a toxic employee—especially when they're in a leadership position—is a hefty one. Showing these people the door if they can't turn their attitude around is key if you want to maintain a healthy workplace culture overall. 

Jack Dorsey, the CEO and Founder of both Twitter and Square, learned this lesson the hard way. 

“One of the things I learned early, early on in Twitter is sometimes you have these people who are just superstars—they have all the right answers, they have all the skills and they’re amazing, but they’re negative—they’re super, super negative,” Dorsey shared at a Square event in Melbourne earlier this month. 

“As you look at your team, if there’s anyone who’s negative on the team, you realize everything is going to become harder because of that negativity," Dorsey said. "No matter how good this person is, if they can’t bring a positive and optimistic attitude to their work you’re probably going to be slowed down.”

Toxic employees like this can quickly bring down the morale of a team. In a workplace that strives to stimulate innovation and open-mindedness, having a nay-sayer or wet blanket type can really stifle the environment for everybody else. 

Here's the bottom line: no matter if they're skilled, talented, pedigreed, have an incredible resume, or build great products, their presence isn't worth it if they bring others down. Not only will they make it tough on your existing team, but they'll quickly irk new hires, and risk infecting the entire company with emotional toxins that just don't belong in the workplace.

As good as a person might be at their job, if they make those around them worse, they're simply not worth having on your team.