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What is a negative employee?
They are people with poisonous attitudes and behavior patterns who negatively influence the people around them. Negative workers come is various shapes and sizes. Sometimes they spread rumors, gossip about coworkers, or bad mouth their superiors to their faces and behind their backs. Basically, they are 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 be hard to accept 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 result in dissatisfaction among other employees.
What can a supervisor/manager do when faced with this unpleasant dilemma?
First, analyze the situation. How much does the person contribute to the overall success of the office/department/business? How much do they contribute to creating personality conflicts with other employees? How does that unhappiness translate into reduced productivity and enthusiasm? How much of your time as a manager are you using to control the situation? What are the legal ramifications (if any) of discharging the employee?
Second, plan a course of action. If you decide to try to salvage the employee, consider these tips:
Discuss the situation with the employee. They will probably profess ignorance of any problems, acknowledge the situation but blame the problems on others, or become defiant and try to play mind games with you. The employee may also voice his or her own complaints.Third, terminate the employee. If all else fails and the negative employee ignores your warnings and refuses to cooperate, it is time to consider termination. Once you decide this is the proper course, take action. Otherwise, you risk losing the respect and confidence from your employees. Before termination, discuss the situation with a human resource professional and seek legal counsel accordingly.
Gregory P. Smith, author of The New Leader, and How to Attract, Keep and Motivate Your Workforce. He speaks at conferences, leads seminars and helps organizations solve problems. He leads an organization called Chart Your Course International located in Conyers, Georgia. Phone him at (770)860-9464 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More information is available at http://www.chartcourse.com.
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