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The Cancerous Employee February 7, 2008

Posted by Darth Sidious in Employee Types, Managing Employees.

The Cancerous employee doesn’t have Cancer, they ARE Cancer. They affect whatever is around them in a bad way – and overtime the cancer spreads outwards. As the tumor grows what would be healthy productive employees eventually become demotivated by the Cancerous employees around them.

Like real Cancer, the Cancerous employee is difficult to remove. They become entrenched in the organization through other people, technology, and subject matter expertise.

Getting rid of the Cancerous employee is just as challenging as real Cancer – you have to localize where the Cancer is and hit it hard, and chances are you’re going to affect good tissue (e.g. departments and teams in this case). Cancer doesn’t go down easily, it infects in as many places as possible, and it’s difficult to know where all those areas are and know if you truly eradicated all those areas.


  • Negative attitude.
  • Usually doesn’t collaborate with the team.
  • Hoards information.
  • Actively (even if subconsciously) demotivates others.
  • Chronically complains.
  • Sees only the negative side of any situation.
  • Unable to admit to ones mistakes.
  • Extremely resistant to change, new ideas, etc…
  • Emotionally unstable.
  • Has few allies in the team.
  • Complains about others weaknesses, even when they share the same weakness (this is because they believe that the rest of the team exists to serve them).


  • Like with real Cancer, you have to bite the bullet and get rid of the disease – it only can get worse.
  • Isolate him/her so that the collateral damage is minimized.
  • Cover your bases in all the areas that the person is involved in.
  • Have an extremely well thought out contingency plan in case this person leaves before you are ready.
  • Have an extremely well thought out plan to remove this person.

Darth Sidious



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