Of course, no one is happy all the time when they’re at work, but every company seems to have at least one person who constantly carries around a negative outlook.

You know this person: They get their work done but make it a point to find issues in every situation, even positive situations. They usually talk about how they are the hardest worker and most passionate person in the organization.

If you are this negative person’s manager, you can’t just sit idly by and expect everyone to just deal. It is your responsibility to do something.

Below are a series of progressive steps you can take when trying to manage them.

1) Don’t Chalk It Up to a ‘Personality Quirk’

It’s easy to downplay a negative attitude by dismissing it as a personality quirk. However, as the supervisor, not taking action likely means this person is having a negative impact on others. Maybe the situation doesn’t require drastic action, but by ignoring it, you run the risk of hurting morale and the company’s culture.

2) Be Proactive

As a company leader, it is your duty to take a real interest in the folks around you. Figure out if the negative worker is trying to deal with a personal matter or feeling frustrated in a professional capacity. Be compassionate but don’t support counterproductive behavior.

3) Channel Critical Instincts

If one of your employees happens to have an overly critical eye, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The problem is when that desire to criticize isn’t channeled properly.

Let the employee know that you’re always open to hearing their concerns, and rather than bringing issues to co-workers, you would like them to speak with you first about any problems.

4) Take Corrective Action

If it comes to the point where you feel the need to say something, come to them with specifics on how their attitude is impacting others, and a plan to change habits. One good technique is to ask her or him to focus on the positives they see, to offset the negativity.

You can’t change how someone else thinks, but you can set boundaries on the tone and language people use at work if they are negatively affecting the workplace.

5) Lay Out an Improvement Plan

Set up a sensible time-sensitive plan for the employee to alter their behavior and set a date for a conversation to talk about progress. Collaborate with the employee to an improvement plan, which includes metrics that can be used to determine if positive change has occurred.

After setting up a plan, give the employee the time and support they need to accomplish the goals you have established.

6) Know When to Let It Go

If you have worked to eliminate any issues brought on by negativity and these issues continue, you ought to start taking steps to let the worker go.

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At Cornerstone, we work with our clients to develop solutions for all kinds of workforce challenges. Please contact us today to discuss how we can help your business.

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