Being able to manage a variety of different types of people in the workplace is one of the things that sets good leaders apart from average ones. Diversity is a key component to developing a strong workplace culture, which means you’ll want to have team members from numerous backgrounds who have experienced a multitude of things. However, one thing you can do without is negative people.
How can negative people affect their colleagues?
Negative people can have destructive, corrosive impacts on your organisation and the people operating within in it. A negative attitude can do far more harm than many realise. For one, it can hinder the creation and sharing of ideas. If ideas are always getting shot down and badmouthed, team members will be hesitant to keep offering them. This can be especially true with introverted people in the office.
These hurt feelings can also permeate other aspects of work. If minds are cluttered by the negativity of others, those minds might not be able to concentrate on important tasks, which can in turn stymie productivity and efficiency. Such downtrodden feelings can also prohibit the creation of the aforementioned strong workplace culture.
Bad workplace behaviour can have far-reaching effects. That is why it’s so important to know how to deal with negative people, especially if you are a team leader.
5 ways to combat negative behaviour
Here are some tips you can use against somebody in your workplace who is exhibiting toxic behaviour that could bring down the rest of the team.
- Fight negativity with positivity
If you want to brighten up a dark room, you add some light. The same thinking can be put into action when trying to battle negative people. Don’t get sucked down into the mud with those exhibiting poor, destructive behaviour. Continue pumping up your team with praise and an overall positive demeanour. If everybody pitches in this way, the positivity can help cancel out the negative.
- Pay attention
There are steps you can take to help improve a negative person’s outlook and behaviour. If you witness such activity, try to take notes and then review them. If there is a common theme running through the outbursts, try to attack the problem instead of the person. Also consider if anything has changed recently that could have set off such behaviour. Sit down with them and discuss what you might think the issue is. If you can come up with a remedy, perhaps the negative behaviour will be eliminated from the equation.
- Don’t play it off as nothing
Dealing with difficult staff requires hard work and dedication. Many will be tempted to ignore the negative person or simply wait and hope he or she stops acting negatively. But that can be foolish and even more harmful. If you don’t do your best to expunge the negativity from your team, it can grow and spread to other members. Then all the issues that arise with poor behaviour can infect the rest of the team. Negative behaviour needs to be nipped in the bud, and most likely you’re the person that needs to be responsible for doing so.
- Be consistent
If you’re going to try to come up with a solution to the problem of negativity in your workplace, commit to doing so. If you send mixed messages about what’s acceptable and what’s not, you run the risk of confusing your team and potentially making them think you’re not very concerned about dealing with workers that have negative attitudes. Dive in headfirst and really try to root out the problem.
- Know when to call it
Sometimes negative people are more trouble than they’re worth. We strongly encourage you to attempt the above tactics when trying to deal with those who exhibit poor workplace behaviour. But don’t let them get in the way of you and your team accomplishing your goals. If you aren’t having any luck turning the negative tide, it might be time to terminate the contract of the offending person.
While team leaders can play a big role in dealing with difficult staff, educating the entire team in how to deal with negative people in the workplace can help suppress negativity before it gets too out of hand. Rent a Saxons training room and hold a seminar on how to spot and diffuse such behaviour. This will help everybody feel more comfortable and give you a better platform on which to construct a positive, productive team and a stable culture.