Before we go too far let’s get some definitions sorted out first: we are looking here at handling a ‘negative personality‘. What we mean is that the style of one that, at work, is often negative, no matter the topic matter or issue.
Identifying a negative personality
We aren’t talking about the one that is arguing against your idea in one or two areas: which will otherwise be helpful conflict: forcing thinking and preventing OSINTOTs. An OSINTOT is “Oh, Sugar, I Never Thought Of That”: for example; the boss announces that he’s visiting take all the sales team away to the Caribbean for a week-long all-expenses-paid ‘conference’ to reward them for a job-well-done but spouses and partners aren’t invited. Someone points out that this might otherwise be counterproductive for salespeople in long-run relationships whose partners might not see this as a benefit but as another week apart. The boss ignores the comment and labels the commentator as being negative. Two salespeople decline to travel on the trip and an argument ensues that ends up in the highest performer quitting.
It might help to spot the type of behaviours we see from genuinely negative people:
- never a smile at work unless it’s at someone else’s misfortune
- constant whining about the job/hours/clueless bosses/useless colleagues/poor facilities/inadequate tools/low pay
- negative response to each aspect of each suggestion that anyone (other than themselves) ever makes
- never misses a chance to indicate how busy they’re and or how hard they work
- knows his or her rights and is consistently reminding folks that they know them
- looks at every issue in relevancy his or her rights irrespective of the other consideration
- takes full advantage of each one among his or her rights (eg refuses to answer the phone during meal attain if it’s actually driving them mad with ringing)
- either could be a loafer (never arrives before contracted hours and always leaves spot on contracted stopping time) or
- a martyr (always comes in early and goes home late but doesn’t actually do anything very productive during this extra time)
- sees ‘customers’ (whoever the shoppers are) as a nuisance that gets in their way, instead of because the those who ultimately pay their wages.
- makes a beeline for any new employee and immediately starts to giving medication a diet of negativity into them
- carries out all actions with the speed of a stunned slug and also the grace of an overflowing storage tank
- never does anything immediately; every request must be done later “because I’m just soooo busy”
Why we’d like to actively handle a negative personality
there are three fundamental reasons why we’d like to handle a negative personality and that they are slightly different if you’re a manager trying to manage them or a team member trying to figure with (or in spite of) them.
1-Negative personalities are self-destructive: their bahaviour is career limiting and, studies suggest, even life-limiting. If you have got any style of humanist streak then you may want to undertake to assist them to help themselves to cheer up.
2-Negative personalities are harder to manage than balanced or positive people: the longer and energy you’ve got to place into managing a negative person (or if you’re a co-worker handling or maybe avoiding them) the less time you have got for managing the more productive staff (or doing all your own job properly)
3-Negative people infect others: they shelve customers (let’s be honest here haven’t you ever had an experience as a customer and thought that you’d never return thereto supplier just because a staffer made you’re feeling as if you were as welcome as a dose of the ‘flu?). They postpone other staff members, This happens in several ways: other staff members need to spend valuable time taking note of their woes and gripes. Other staff members have any potential enthusiasm they will have slowly ground down by the consistent negativity. Good staffer who have ambition and joie de vivre can’t take it in order that they actually leave and go elsewhere, and what you’re left with is an increasingly toxic work environment where the overall attitude is that life is difficult, managers are incompetent, and that we are all just hanging on for our pensions! Finally, negative people actually suspend potential employees with chutzpah and encourage people like them to joy your organization.
There are 4 ways to handle the difficulty of a negative personality at work:
1-Isolate the negative personality
Sir Earnest Shackleton was a past master at isolating negative people from his team, especially the younger or more ‘corruptable’ members. He kept the negative people near him so he could influence and manage their negativity, instead of pushing them away (the more intuitive action) and thus allowing them freedom to infect others. If you’ll be able to isolate negative people from others during a more literal sense then do so, remote working, home working, or moving to a solo job could also be a viable option IF the person actually produces results. watch out for ‘isolation’ that truly exposes; a business had a senior administrator who had a negative personality and was infecting all her colleagues, the manager decided to isolate her in an exceedingly literal sense; put her in an exceedingly job where she worked alone. His solution: the counter. “Nice work, Einstein! Now every customer who rings or visits is exposed to her negativity”. To be fair she did insult a customer in her third week, so badly that she was summarily dismissed, that the effect was possibly good but a really good customer was sacrificed on the way.
2-Convert their negativity
Explain the rationale for actions and procedures that they complain about, ask them for his or her opinions, where possible give them the selection of a way to do things. Take time to ask them to think about the upside of the items they compain about, take time to ask them what proportion worse things might be for them (in this economic climate having employment you think that of as ‘lousy’ with an employer you think that of as ‘rubbish’ for a boss you think that of as an ‘idiot’ remains better than being out of labor and out of hope!) you’ll note that almost all of the conversion approach is about them doing the talking instead of you telling them; this geves them the sensation that somebody gives a damn what they think and it gives them some ownership of their opinions instead of being a passive listener to yours.
3-Distract their negativity
sometimes you’ll distract them by giving them extra responsibility; this can be a technique that has its dangers so take care. a person during a company had a reputation for being completely toxic but the management had never actually managed this effectively. the corporate brought in a very Quality programme and also the man was sent on the primary training session (just as a matter, after all, not specially selected), on the primary day he muttered and criticized and whined and argued and was a general pain to the trainer. On the second day, he applied to be a ‘champion’ of the new quality programme- it had been doing all the items he felt the corporate should are doing for years. He got the work and went on to be a true asset to the corporate.
4-Remove the negative person
If you are attempting everything and still fail then the sole sensible option is to get rid of the negative person from the team permanently. Whether you counsel them out, make their role redundant, or sack them is entirely a matter for you but you cannot just leave them there as a symbol of your failure to manage. and eventually please, please don’t take the ‘shove them sideways into a sinecure job’ approach. this can just perpetuate the Peter Principle and pass the headache on to somebody else within the organization; it actually reinforces the behaviors that you just can’t bear!