Every manager has to deal with a certain amount of pessimistic, hostile or uncooperative behavior at times. But a hard-core negative attitude that starts with just one employee can quickly infect an entire department (or a whole company) if the manager doesn't rein it in quickly.
Negativity can spread through your workplace like wildfire. Stop it BEFORE it starts!
Here are 10 tips for confronting employees whose negative behavior has begun to affect co-workers and the company:
1. Don't get drawn into the employees' negative mind-set. Listen to their points, but don't temper your own realistic optimism.
2. Avoid getting into an argument. Negative people thrive on the negative energy of arguments. Point out areas of agreement when possible in order to build rapport. Keep your cool.
3. Set standards. Spell out the consequences of negative behavior, such as decreased morale. Base them on behavior, not attitude.
For example, you may not be able to change the fact that an employee doesn't like a certain company policy. But you can discipline employees if they don't follow the policy or are insubordinate in gossiping about it.
4. Ask questions. Force the employee to be specific about what is creating his or her negative thoughts and actions.
5. Try role-playing. Ask the employee to put himself in your shoes and pretend he has been asked to resolve the problem. That way, you will have the employee contribute his ideas for the best possible solutions.
Involving the employee may also lead to more positive feelings about the solution or outcome since he or she had a hand in creating it.
Negative employees can suck the morale and productivity out of an office like nothing else. But you don't have to just sit and take it. Get your copy of Keep Negativity from Infecting Your Workplace to restore a happy, thriving environment.
6. Listen carefully. Use active listening to ensure that you're understanding the employee correctly.
7. Don't lower your expectations of them. A negative attitude doesn't necessarily mean a poor performer.
8. Empower employees. Stop the "victim” mentality from forming. Allow employees to take responsibility for "good” events, so they can make them happen again; and for the "bad” events, so they have the power to change them in the future.
9. Solicit feedback. Always ask for employees' opinions before making major decisions that will affect them. The more you listen to employees, and take an active interest in their concerns, the less likely they will be to complain to each other.
10. Hire right. Identify negative people before they're hired. During the interview, listen for feelings that "life isn't fair” in response to questions like: Have you ever felt you've been treated unfairly in the past? What were your chief concerns about management in your previous jobs? and What would you have changed if you were the manager at your last job?4 important don'ts
- Don't shower negativists with lots of attention. You're only rewarding bad behavior.
- Don't stop asking them to pitch in and do tasks outside their normal job descriptions. Otherwise, you're also punishing positive (or less vocal) employees.
- Don't correct them less often in order to avoid dealing with the attitude. Employees can't be expected to change for the better if they're not asked to.
- Don't allow employees to get bored or complacent. A negative attitude develops easily when there's "nothing to look forward to.”
Everyone gets grouchy at work sometimes. But chronic negativity is something else. Co-workers who are ALWAYS nasty and complaining are more than a minor irritation. They can sap the very lifeblood out of your workplace.
That's why we created Keep Negativity from Infecting Your Workplace. In this effective training CD, Dr. Marie McIntyre will share her time-tested techniques for restoring a positive attitude among your co-workers. The recording includes the following key topics:
With Keep Negativity from Infecting Your Workplace, you'll be able to boost morale and productivity, and slash complaints and turnover. Imagine how that will make you look as a manager. Order your copy today!
- 6 signs that your office may be infected with negativity
- The hidden costs of a chronic negativity problem
- Diagnosing the cause: What makes some people so negative?
- Employees from the dark side: whiners, complainers, critics and pessimists
- Active troublemakers: tattletales, gossips, bullies and rabble-rousers
- 7 effective weapons in the war against negativity
- How you may actually be rewarding your employees' negative behavior
- A 5-step behavioral coaching process that really makes an impact
- How to re-engage resentful employees by flipping their "motivational switch"
- Using the Team Turnaround process to "disinfect" an entire group
- Termination: when removing the cause is the only cure
- Recognizing systemic problems: 13 signs of a toxic workplace
- Strategies for saving your sanity in a toxic organization