As managers, we are tasked with making sure others do what we are ultimately responsible for. Don’t you find it extremely stressful to be judged by how well you do your job based on what other people do or, more importantly, do not do correctly?
However, with the right tools and a plan, you can effectively manage the people who bring negativity to your workspace. And reduce your stress.
Aptitude or Attitude?
There are some people who just won’t ever do the job the way the way it should be done. All the training in the world won’t give certain people the skills, insight or ability to jobs they are just not cut out to do. They may adopt a negative attitude because this job is not really where they should be.
There are easy ways to handle these circumstances, such as suggesting a position change to match their talents. Don’t we love where there is the opportunity to ‘ease’ someone into another job within the organization?
And there are difficult ways. Having to let a person go for truly not having the skill set or attitude to do their job is hard. While some managers may become de-sensitized to having to fire people, I don’t know anyone who has a heart has ever said it is easy to do.
How to Handle Attitude
There are employees who just have an innate negative nature but can do their job effectively or even very well. Their negative attitude tends to bring down the rest of the organization. This makes it difficult for the co-workers to do their job they way they should.
How do you handle these people?
- Engage with them. Learn about their personal and professional situation. Perhaps there is an outside influence that is making them take on a negative stance. Don’t assume you know everything about them. Ask. In some cases, just showing you are interested in them may help to adjust the way they interact in the workplace.
- Document Behavior. Don’t allow the negativity to affect the morale of others in the organization. Once you’ve engaged with the employee, let them know through regular meetings that you will be documenting the situation. Present how their behavior influences the group dynamic and interactions with customers. And explain that it is your job to keep track of when, how and why an employee behavior affects the productivity of the team.
- Lead by example. We are all human. You can empathize with members of your team when things are not going well. But show how you can, and need, to rise above certain issues to do the job you are paid to do.
- Provide positive feedback. If an employee seems willing to listen, or be listened to, look for workplace behaviors on which to pay compliments. Positive reinforcement can help to make a difference on how they process what is going on in their lives. Give them clear steps to help them improve.
- Know when nothing will change. At some point, you have to recognize when someone won’t change. If you’ve worked on building a relationship, encouraging, and displaying a positive attitude, and negativity still abounds, it’s time to call it quits. Put the individual on a performance improvement plan. Use the documentation you’ve collected to support your cause for termination.
Keeping your team positive and motivated is your job. Maintain your credibility as a manager by having a plan and using the tools available to you to confidently handle negative employees.
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