How do I Manage Negative People in the Workplace?

Assess the Negativity in Your Workplace

How Do Negative People Impact in your Workplace?

Nothing affects employee morale more insidiously than persistent workplace negativity. It saps the energy of your organization and diverts critical attention from work and performance. Negativity occurs in the attitude, outlook, and talk of one negative person, or in a crescendo of voices responding to a workplace decision or event.

Whatever the cause of the workplace negativity, you must address the issues. Or like a seemingly dormant volcano, they will boil beneath the surface, and periodically bubble up and overflow to cause fresh damage.

As a leader, your goal is to turn the negativity around!

What if it is One Person?

The negative person finds problems in every situation. They're never happy. They choose to focus only on problems and pitfalls, and never see any solutions or silver linings. They are worriers, always getting anxious about things over which they have no control. They're quick to blame others and to classify themselves as victims, always operating under the belief that the world is out to get them. They are motivated by anyone who will listen to their complaints and rants. There is a little bit of truth to their words; you can't ignore them. Even if they are achieving results, their constant critical attitude hinders the overall effectiveness of your team.

Negative people in the workplace can be exhausting and can impact your business. You need to confront these people to bring about a change in their behaviour, or you may find their negative mentality rubbing off on others -- making them cynical and pessimistic, too.

How do I Confront my Negative Person?

Respect is the key to difficult relationships, and by giving them personal attention you will have an opportunity to gain their respect and build the relationship. If you can help them overcome their critical spirit, they can become a more productive team member. Instead of attacking the other members of their team, they can become a positive problem solver.

Take them Aside

Let them know that their negative attitude is a problem. Give specific examples of how their actions have hurt people and progress. Then, ask them to explain what is prompting their negative attitude. Why do they criticise instead of finding solutions? Once you have talked to them, offer them a proper avenue for their critical observations. If they are having a problem with an individual, they should resolve it with that person. If they cannot, they should then come to you for assistance. If they are having a problem with the business, they should come straight to you. Let them know that it is never appropriate to share their criticism with a third party. Besides, it is more effective to deal directly with the source.

If the person continues to inappropriately criticise individuals, their team or your business, stronger action is required.

Set up a Meeting with Affected Parties

Ask the people affected by their criticism to meet with you both. The goal of this meeting is not to gang up on the person, but to help them realise how their criticism affects other people. Don't dredge up things that have happened years ago, bring in the people who have most recently been criticised. Don't have too many people at this meeting.

During the meeting:

If the problem still continues...

It is time to work through your disciplinary procedures.

How do I Manage Workplace Negativity?

Negativity is an increasing problem in the workplace. Negativity is often the result of a loss of confidence, control, or sense of belonging.

Identify the Symptoms of Negativity

Keep your fingers on the pulse of the business to sense workplace negativity. Identify and respond to early warning signs that all is not well. Look at employee complaints, exit interviews with employees who leave, and know the reputation of your business in your community. This information will help you to prevent and turn around workplace negativity.

Identify the Source(s) of Workplace Negativity

Knowing what people are negative about is the first step in solving the problem. Talk with employees in order to understand the exact problems and the degree to which the problems are impacting your workplace. Identify the teams who are experiencing the negativity, and the nature of the issues that sparked their unhappiness.

Take Action

Work together with your people to develop strategies to minimise negativity in your workplace.

Check Progress

Ask people:

Get in Touch with Jump

If you need help, or you answered no or unsure to any of the questions in the assessment tool, then Jump Business Solutions can help you. Phone us on +64 6 754 8987 or +64 27 450 5271 or email and Jump will come to you, discover your needs, and develop a solution that will create real, long-term and positive change for you and your business.