If you’re a small business owner or in a managing role in a small business, it’s not a matter of “if,” but more a matter of “when” you’ll encounter a negative employee. There’s no such thing as a perfect office. There will always be negative people, carrying their contagious energy and inflicting negativity to anyone who crosses their path.
The rest of the staff may choose to ignore this negative employee and just focus on the tasks to be done, but this is not an option for you. Being the manager or business owner, you can’t just ignore these types of happenings. You’re obligated to make sure that the workplace is free from all sorts of negativity, but it’s not like you can simply tell this employee to stop being negative.
When you come across negative employees, which I’m sure you will, you have to know how to handle them. That won’t be an easy feat. So, here are some tips to help you manage a negative employee:
Do Your Homework
The minute you sense negativity within the work premises, start doing your homework. Try to know as much as you can about that employee’s personal and professional situation. Is there an external influence goading him or her to act that way? Or was the employee already negative the moment he or she started working for the organization? These are important points to figure out. As a manager, it’s part of your role to avoid writing a personal narrative about an employee that’s only based on assumptions.
As much as possible, you have to find out if there’s something in the employee’s personal or professional life that’s causing him or her to act negatively. If you find the root of the negetivity, do what you can to help the employee through the situation, being careful not to cross any professional boundaries.
Conduct Damage Control and Document
Negativity isn’t something to be ignored. It causes more damage to the morale of the company each day that passes. You have to address the problem immediately.
The most direct thing to do is to talk to that person one on one. Figure out if there’s something that’s bothering him or her. The two of you have to work on it together so that negativity can be eradicated from the midst of the office.
Act As an Example
Being a manager or business owner doesn’t exempt you from feeling the same tension that everybody else is feeling when faced with a negative employee, but you shouldn’t let the negativity drag you down.
As their leader, you have to lead by example. Don’t engage in gossip about that employee. You have to model the kind of behavior you want from your employees. Everyone has the need to vent, but you have to consider your role, and that’s to keep the office a work-conducive environment.
Reinforce the Desired Behavior
Management is just like parenting. You have to restrict your employees to certain boundaries. It’s good to be friendly with your staff, but it may cause them to believe that complying with your rules is optional.
Part of being the manager or business owner comes with the ability to make people follow your orders. This doesn’t mean you have to throw tables if they don’t do what you say. Rather, what it means is that you implement the rules. Don’t let a rule breaker off the hook, because others are bound to do the same.
Enough Is Enough
It’s part of your job as the manager or business owner to help employees do the best they can, but if you think you’ve already done your best, and yet, negativity still prevails, then you can opt to let that employee go.
You’re not obligated to keep someone on your team if he or she is becoming a pain for the entire staff. If there’s nothing else you can do, then you have to let the employee go.