How To Deal With Negative Employees

How to deal with negative employees

Do you want to discover how to deal with negative employees so you can prevent negativity from spreading across your workforce ? 

As a business owner or entrepreneur have you recently noticed negative behavior in some of your employees?

Do you want to know how to deal with negative employees so you can have a more organized and productive workforce?

As a business owner or entrepreneur, taking timely action to tackle negative employees is important in stopping the negativity from spreading across the team.

Thereby, helping you maintain a motivated, productive, and efficient workforce.

More so, knowing how to deal with negative employees would help you save your business from the destructive and toxic attitude of negative employees.

Thus helping build and grow a successful business.

Handling negative employees can be quite challenging.

Hence, the need for you to know the right and effective approach on how to deal with negative employees.

Read on to discover the right way to go about it.

How To Deal With Negative Employees

solutions for dealing with difficult employees

As said earlier, having negative employees in your business can be bad for you as a business owner or entrepreneur.

Hence, the need to take prompt action once you begin to notice any negative behavior in your employees.

Before you go on to dealing with negative employees in your business, you need to first be able to identify them.

You need to know what makes a negative employee or who is a negative employee.

4 Tell-Tale Signs Of Negative Employees And How They Affect Your Business

how to manage a negative team

Firstly, a negative employee is one who you and other members of the team find it difficult to work with as a result of the negative traits that they possess.

Hence, a negative employee is one who possesses the following traits or does the following.

1. Does Not Comply With The Company’s Culture

You can tell that an employee is being negative if he/she refuses or is unwilling to learn and adapt to the company’s culture.

Company culture is a set of shared values, standards, ethics, rules, and regulations that characterize the way things are done in any organization.

So, an employee that refuses to comply with the way things are done in the company would be very difficult to work it.

In other words, such an employee would not follow the set-out procedure for getting things done in the business.

Based on this, it would be hard for other members of the team to collaborate with such an employee.

More so, this would make it difficult for your team/employees to come up with creative ideas.

Hence, making it quite difficult for your business to grow and succeed.

dealing with negativity from staff

2. Does Not Take Correction Or Constructive Criticism

The unwillingness to take correction or constructive criticism can be a strong sign of negativity in an employee.

Hence, you should be on the lookout for employees that keep repeating the same mistakes or react badly to constructive criticisms.

This shows that they are unwilling to learn and improve their skills and capabilities.

Thereby, making it difficult for them to be productive and efficient which will, in turn, harm your business.

3. Thinks He/She Is Better Than Everyone Else

This is another tell-tale sign that you should be aware of when thinking of how to deal with negative employees.

An employee who thinks he/she is better than everyone else on the team is negative.

More so, this kind of negative attitude would make such an employee look down on other members of the team.

Thus creating an unpleasant work environment for team spirit and collaboration.

Thereby, affecting the productivity of the team and the profitability and growth of your business.

coaching employee with negative attitude

4. Acts Unconcerned About The Progress Of The Business

When it comes to dealing with negative employees, this is another tell-tale sign you should look out for.

An employee who acts unconcerned about the growth of the business is negative.

Furthermore, this kind of employee is reluctant to put in the efforts needed to achieve excellent results in his/her work.

More so, he/she doesn’t act as a good team player.

A good team player is one who is willing to collaborate and put in extra effort when required to help the business actualize its goals.

Thus leading to maximum productivity of the employees and profitability in your business.

However, with a negative employee, this would be quite difficult to achieve.

Overall, there are other traits of negativity in negative employees such as complaining, pessimism, bullying, gossiping among others.

The traits mentioned above are some of the important ones that can greatly affect your business that you should pay serious attention to.

Now, you have an idea of how to identify negative employees; let’s consider how to deal with them.

7 Effective Tips On How To Deal With Negative Employees 

managing workplace negativity

Familiar with the saying; One bad apple spoils the whole bunch? 

The same goes for having one negative employee in your workforce.

A negative employee can consciously or unconsciously influence other employees to behave negatively as well.

This is why you need to take action to deal with any form of negativity in your employee(s) immediately you spot it.

Hence, here are some tips on how to deal with negative employees.

Identify The Cause Of Negativity In The Employee

how to deal with difficult employees

Sometimes, the cause of negativity could be as a result of some personal issues the employee might be going through.

For example, an employee struggling with relationship issues, divorce, debt, mental health, etc will have negative emotions.

This negativity can most of the time reflect in the employees’ work-life and how he/she relates with the rest of the team.

More so, the cause of this negativity could be within your organization as a whole.

For example, it could be a result of how he/she is treated by the rest of the team.

Also, it could be a result of some policies that such an employee considers unfavorable or unacceptable to him/her or the way you lead.

As a business owner or manager, before concluding that such an employee is a negative employee, try to find out if there’s any particular reason for such behavior.

So, when you identify any negative employee, have a one on one chat with such an employee.

If you politely and sincerely ask the employee, the employee might honestly express their feelings to you.

Thus helping you identify the root cause of negativity and dealing with the negative employee.

Give The Negative Employee Feedback On How His/Her Behavior Is Affecting The Rest Of The Team And The Business 

how to motivate negative employees

This is another important step to take when dealing with negative employees.

Sometimes negative people are unaware of how their negativity affects people around them.

Christine Porath a professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business stated that;

“People are so focused on the burdens or the potential stressors that they’re trying to manage just to survive,”

They don’t “have the energy to think, ‘How could I do this better?’

Likewise, it would be hard for them to think of how of how their negative behavior is hurting others.

So, most times the negative employee could be unaware of how his/her behavior is affecting the team.

Hence, it is your duty as a business owner, leader, or manager to give such an employee feedback on his/her behavior.

To do this, you’ll need to have a conversation with the negative employee.

This might be quite a difficult conversation to have but it something you ought to do to solve the problem at hand.

You’ll need to give the negative employee direct and honest feedback on the;

  • negative behavior he/she is portraying
  • effect of his/her behavior on the team using specific and concrete examples
  • kind of new/positive behavior you’ll like the employee to portray and what you expect the employee to change

For example, you could point out how his/her rude behavior to a team member made the team member felt sad throughout the day.

Thereby, affecting the team members’ productivity and the profitability of his/her business.

Also, you could go further to state that you’ll want to see more polite and respectable interaction in the team.

This would allow the negative employee to strive to have a more positive impact on people.

Thus helping you effectively deal with negative employees.

Focus On Fixing The Problem 

how to change an employees negative attitude

Another important tip to keep in mind when dealing with negative employees is fixing the cause(s) of the negativity.

When dealing with negative employees, it’s common to focus on everything that’s wrong about the employee without regard to solving the actual problem.

Bear in mind that you might not be able to fix all the causes of negativity.

However, you can at least try your best to make suggestions on how to solve the problem.

More so, you can create an avenue for solving the problem.

For example, let’s say you identified pessimism, pressure from the job/team, mental stress among others as the causes of negativity in your employee(s).

You can work on fixing these problems by providing relevant resources such as personal development books, TED talks, motivational videos among others.

These resources should be resources that can help the negative employee have a change of mindset.

More so, you could make some suggestions on how the negative employee can effectively manage the work pressure and avoid negative emotions.

Furthermore, maybe the employee is going through some hard times in his/her life which is causing negative emotions.

You could consider giving the employee some time off work.

This would give the employee time to resolve the challenges in his/her life that is causing all of the negative emotions.

Thus, helping you as a business owner, entrepreneur or manager deal with negative employees.

Revisit Your Company’s Polices

how to handle employees with bad attitudes

This is another important tip to keep in mind when dealing with negative employees.

If you are beginning to notice negative behavior in your employees, then it’s time to revisit your companies rules and policies.

This is why it is important to set the right rules and standards that force positive behavior in your business.

Rules such as;

  •  Mutual respect for each member of the team
  • Commitment to teamwork
  • Respect for the environment
  • A high level of professionalism at all times among others are some of the rules that can force positive behavior.

Earlier on, we made mention of the term company culture.

This is where company culture plays a very important role in any organization.

Firstly, your company’s culture should be captured in a company’s policy handbook.

More so, it should clearly state what is deemed as acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior.

It should also reflect guidelines that stipulate how team members should interact with each other.

It should also capture strict penalties or necessary course of action to be taken if any of these guidelines are not followed.

This is so that you can use it as a guide to help you deal with all forms of negativity in your business.

Overall, your company’s culture should be such that it promotes positive behavior and frowns at all forms of negativity.

Hence, when dealing with the negative employee(s) remind them of what the company’s policies stipulate concerning negative behavior.

You should also state the necessary course of action that would be taken if they continue with the negative behavior.

Thus helping you effectively deal with negative employees.

Check Yourself; Are You Leading By Example

how to manage a disgruntled employee

This is an important question to ask yourself when thinking of how to deal with negative employees.

Are you leading by example with positive behaviors?

Are you complying with the company’s culture as you are telling others to do?

Do you show respect for your team members/employees’ feelings when interacting with them?

Are you rude and arrogant to both your employees and customers and you expect your employees to do otherwise? 

Whilst you might be caught up with getting that negative employee to behave in the right way, take a moment to check yourself.

Are you sure the negative employee isn’t following your footsteps with regards to the negative attitude he/she has?

Yes, it’s easy to talk and point fingers at the negative employee, but you’ve gotta do better than that.

You’ve got to walk the talk; lead by example.

You can’t expect to tell a negative employee to be committed to working for the business if you show a lack of commitment.

More so, you can’t keep telling a negative employee to stop the habit of gossiping about other employees if you go about telling other people about that employee.

So when dealing with negative employees, ensure that you’re not just giving instructions to follow.

Ensure that you are walking the talk, in other words, ensure that you are leading by example.

Be the change you want to see in the negative employee.

Use Positive Reinforcement 

managing difficult behavior in the workplace

This is yet another important tip to keep in mind when dealing with negative employees.

Another approach you can use to correct negative behavior in your employees is positive reinforcement.

Positive reinforcement is the process of encouraging a pattern of behavior by offering a reward when the behavior is exhibited.

This is mostly applicable to positive behavior.

Every human being likes it when they are being commended for something they’ve done well.

Also, these commendations usually serve as a strong motivating force to do better.

So, if you notice that the negative employee exhibits a desired positive behavior, encourage the employee to do more by using positive reinforcement.

You can give the employee who has shown a positive change in behavior or acted positively rewards or incentives.

By doing so, the negative employee would realize that positive behavior is more likely to bring him/her rewards than a negative one.

Thus he/she would make conscious efforts to show more positive behavior.

Thereby, helping you deal with negative employees.

You Can’t Change Everyone Know When It’s Time To Let Go 

managing negative employees

When trying to figure out how to deal with negative employees, you have to know when to let them go.

You’ve tried everything possible to change their positive behavior into a more positive one.

However, they seem unwilling to change.

You don’t have to put up with them and risk the possibility of their negative attitude jeopardizing the team you’re trying to build.

Also, you have to take a firm decision that would save your business from the impact of their negativity.

So, when all you’ve tried seems not to be working then it’s a clear sign that it’s time to lay off that negative employee.

It can be quite a tough decision to make, but when it’s in the best interest of your business you’ve got to make it anyways.

So, follow the due procedures for laying off employees to avoid unnecessary legal complications and let go of that negative employee.

Conclusion On How To Deal With Negative Employees

team building with difficult employees

Trying to change a person’s behavior might be a really difficult thing to achieve.

However, with the right approach, you can influence the behavior of the individual.

This is what we have tried to establish in this blog post.

Playing blind to the negative behavior of your employees would only make matters worse.

As said earlier, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.

In other words,  one negative employee can negatively impact the rest of your employees and your business entirely.

So, use these tips mentioned above to help you identify and deal with negative employees.

This is so that you can create a workforce that is conducive, harmonious, productive, and efficient.

Thus helping you build a great team and running a successful business or enterprise.

Here’s to your success.

How do you deal with negativity as a person?

Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.