Who doesn’t enjoy the occasional moan? But, how do you deal with an employee who changes from an occasional moan to persistent negativity?
A Change in Behaviour
Most people start a new job with enthusiasm. It’s natural, over time, for that initial enthusiasm to wane a little, and even for employees to have the occasional moan about the work they do. But, how do you deal with a situation where the occasional moan has turned into persistent negativity?
If an employee has changed from being happy and efficient in their work to being negative, and possibly disruptive, it can have a significant effect on your customers, your team and your business as a whole.
The Signs of Change
The early signs of such a change like this can be easy to miss. You might notice that the person has stopped passing on messages, or that they are being snippy towards colleagues and irritable or annoyed when anyone talks to them. Although this may not seem like much, this can quickly develop. We’ve listed a range of different things to look out for in our handy Guide to Poor Office Behaviour.
The consistent factor, though, is that the behaviour usually snowballs over time, To the point where you can have a serious workplace issue on your hands.
Hoping it will go away?
It’s easy to hope that negative behaviour will simply disappear over time. That it’s just a blip for the person, and they will sort themselves out eventually. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.
A negative change in behaviour usually reflect something going on behind the scenes for the person, and if left unchecked, it can have adverse effects on your business including:-
- Reduced efficiency – as the employee essentially gives up on their work.
- Unrest and splits in your other employees.
- Customer dissatisfaction – after all, who wants to do business with a negative person?
Tackling Negative Behaviour
Negativity in the office is one of the first signs of disengagement. In our Guide to Poor Office Behaviour, we explain a number of proven methods for business owners and managers to use when dealing with disengagement and managing negative behaviour.
These 7 steps offer a good starting point for further exploration.
- Collect relevant information about the person’s behaviour, with specific details
- Initiate a private conversation with the person
- Avoid the temptation to be accusatory but ask open questions
- Ask for their side to the story
- Explain the effects and impacts of their behaviour
- Show them how they and their work are valued in the organisation
- Offer appropriate support and reward good behaviour
For more details about how to initiate these steps, see our Guide to Poor Office Behaviour.
Using the Information You Discover
In your conversation with the person, you will likely come across some of the most typical causes of workplace negativity. We explain these in detail in the guide, but one of the most common you will come across is job frustration.
People who do the same tasks on a regular basis easily become bored. If they aren’t challenged, they begin to feel undervalued.
Manage Negativity by Managing the Whole Person
The key to dealing with someone’s negative behaviour is to show them that you are interested in the whole person and to look to address what you can. Understanding why someone is acting the way they are will help you manage them far better than a simple telling off or brushing it under the carpet.
At Work Brighter, we help organisations manage their employees, by helping them to understand their employees motivations. We give practical support to business owners and managers to help them manage difficult people, negative behaviours and a range of workplace issues.