negative employee

Negativity can spread in the workplace like a disease. One single negative employee can impact your business’s productivity, employee morale, and even retention rates. Here are some tips on dealing with an employee’s negative attitude. 

Look for the Cause  

To solve a problem with a negative employee, you need to understand where those feelings are coming from. The reason for your employee’s negative attitude may be something you can fix, or it may not be. Regardless, if they are a valuable member of your team, and you want to keep them around, it’s worth looking into the root cause of the negativity and determining how best to go about solving it. 

Here are some questions to ask yourself and the individual: 

  • Is this person unhappy with their role? 
  • Do they have personal issues with other co-workers? 
  • Are they having problems with their boss or direct supervisor? 

How to Discuss Negative Behavior With Your Employees 

Talking about an employee’s negative behavior may seem awkward or confrontational. There are a few things you can do to ease the discussion though. Keep the following in mind.  

  • Do not use accusatory language like “you always.” Instead, opt for an assertive phrase, such as “I have observed.” 
  • Listen to the employee’s response and consider their point of view. 
  • Use a respectful tone that shows you are interested in understanding their perspective. 
  • Give specific examples of negative behavior in the workplace and how it is impacting their performance.  
  • Avoid generalizations and other negative words that may make them feel defensive, such as “always,” “never” and “lazy.”
  • Don’t speculate. Only discuss things you have witnessed yourself. 

Be Open to Feedback From the Rest of Your Team 

Being open to feedback from the rest of your team is a vital part of dealing with a negative employee. While it can be easy to get caught up in the employee’s pessimistic attitude, you should also consider that negativity can affect others too. Not to mention, the negativity may be stemming from something happening within your team.  

Whether you’re having one-on-one conversations or talking with the group as a whole, listening is key to understanding how other staff members feel about their colleague’s negativity. It will also help you come up with some ideas on how to approach a solution.  

Encourage Discussion 

Don’t try to pretend there is not a problem when there is a negative employee in the midst. The negative behavior will continue if it isn’t addressed. Make sure that all of your staff members feel comfortable approaching you about problems like their co-worker’s attitude at work. You also need to make a discussion happen with the person who has been negative on the job. Talk to them about how it impacts other people and encourage them to freely speak on the subject.  

Utilizing the help of a staffing agency to find your employees can help reduce your risk of having a negative employee on your team. Before sending you any candidates, the staffing pros at PriideStaff St. Pete Clearwater get to know the talent. Then we assess what kind of worker they are and where they would be a good fit. Let us help you find your next new hire.


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