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Defuse negative energy–or else

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

When you manage negative employees, you may shrug and say to yourself, "Oh, well, at least they get the job done." But just because they meet minimal standards of productivity doesn't mean you should accept their bad attitude.

Roofers will tell you that water finds the path of least resistance to seep into your home. Negativity spreads in the same way. It will infiltrate your workplace wherever it can and keep intensifying unless you stop it.

Don't let negative energy thrive. Take steps to extinguish it so that optimists and goal-driven winners set the tone.

Over his successful career as a human resources executive, Jim Delaney has taken steps to motivate people and foster a joyous and stimulating work environment. But at one critical point, his leadership skills were put to the test.

Delaney, a subscriber in Michigan, shares his experience years ago when he joined a benefits administration firm as its head of HR. Before accepting the job, he toured the facility and "found the negative energy enough to make my skin crawl," he says.

He knew that if left to fester, the existing culture would jeopardize the company's survival. Customer relations had steadily declined for two years and showed no signs of improving.

When Delaney observed the customer-service workers in action, he couldn't believe what he saw. They took long breaks and scowled when talking with customers. They clearly didn't like their job.

"Most of the employees were well-intentioned people who had never been trained to deliver good service," Delaney recalls. "We had to raise the bar."

By hiring top employees from his former employer, he energized the unit. Their enthusiasm proved contagious. While a few of the "old guard" left the company, most of them embraced a new, more positive attitude.

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