HOW TO MANAGE NEGATIVE EMPLOYEES
Negative employees can be found in all organizations
whether small or big. The negative employee isone who creates problems for his team, for his manager and even for the organization as a whole. Suchemployees can be found at all levels of the organization, from the lowest level to even at themanagement level.
So, who are these negative employees? They are employees who have ‘negative’ attitude. Their
behavioral pattern is negative and they have a negative influence on the people interacting with them.They adopt various ways to create negativity in the organization
they spread rumors and gossips abouttheir co-workers, manager or even the organization. Each and every action taken by the manager /management is viewed with suspicion. These people, if not carefully managed, can suck the energy of the manager and the organization. They are, basically, unhappy people who resist the positive efforts of others.Managers often hesitate to terminate them if they are productive or have special skills/experience.Sometimes managers do not understand the amount of stress a negative employee creates. It may behard to accept that a negative employee who did a good job did so at the expense of the productivity of others. Yet ignoring or tolerating the problems and atmosphere they create can easily and quickly resultin dissatisfaction among other employees.What can a manager do when faced with this unpleasant situation?
First and foremost, analyze the situation
. How important is the person for the success of the
organization? What has been the person’s behavioral record in the past? Is the change in attitude a
recent phenomenon or has it been there for a long time? Is the change in attitude related to any recentincident like performance appraisal or rewards or transfer to any department against the wishes of theemployee? How much does the person contribute to the unhappiness of other employees? How doesthat unhappiness translate into reduced productivity and enthusiasm? How much of your time as amanager is spent to control the situation? What are the legal ramifications (if any) of discharging theemployee?
Second, plan a course of action.
Once you get the answers to the questions and you decide to try tosalvage the employee, with termination only as a last resort, consider these tips:
Discuss the situation threadbare with the employee.
Tell him everything clearly without mincing words.The employee will probably profess ignorance of any problem or acknowledge the situation but blamethe problems on others, or become defiant and try to play mind games with you. The employee may
also voice his or her own complaints. Evaluate the employee’s position. Even a negative person can have
a legitimate complaint. Evaluate not only the empl
oyee’s response to your remarks but whether theemployee has legitimate concerns you need to consider. If the complaint is the basis of the person’s
negative attitude/behavior, resolving it should result in a more positive situation. Often, however, theco
mplaint is either a smoke screen for the employee’s behavior or resulted from the person’s own
Focus on a behavior you want changed, not an attitude.
It is extremely difficult to change the attitudeof any person and not worth trying, unless and until the concerned employee is extremely important forthe success of the organization and finding a replacement may be very difficult. Accept the reality thatyou may not be able to change the person into an ideal employee, even if you are a great manager.
However, you can specify an action or goal for the employee and then follow through on the employee’s