How to Deal with Negative Norman

We’ve all been in workplaces that have them. Sometimes they are more noticeable than others. Sometimes they don’t last long, other times they seem to last forever. I’m talking about disruptive employees. You know, the ones that seem to but heads with everyone, or have a negative comment no matter what is going on. The ones who make you question how they are still here?

Stan Mack points out in his article on that, “Bad attitudes spread, which is why you must address the issue quickly. A single person’s bad attitude can have a huge effect on the operation of your business”. I think any business owner that has had to deal with a difficult employee would agree that one bad apple can ruin the whole bunch. So what are you as a business owner to do?

Rather than go with my traditional 3 quick tips. I’m going to leave you with three options for dealing with such employees.

1.Start Listening. Michael Cheary says in his article for that this helps the disgruntled employee tell their side of the story. Listening to their side might also bring up valid reasons for why they have been “off”. Maybe there was a death in the family and they didn’t know how to tell anyone. Regardless, giving them a chance to tell their side may help move them in the right direction or help you to decide if it is time to let them go.
2.Tie Feedback to Core Values/Purpose. When giving employee feedback, try and keep it consistent and have a piece in your goals/values that talks about being a good coworker. In her article for, Joanne Murray points out that its often difficult to quantify these sorts of situations, which causes managers to avoid them altogether. By putting language into your company policy regarding how you want your employees to show up to work, you empower yourselves or your managers to confront these issues head on.
3.Give Clear Behavioural Feedback. Erika Anderson, in her article for Forbes points out that will avoid giving the tough feedback that their negative employees need. While it can be challenging to confront someone for spreading a bad attitude around the office it can also be one of the best things you as a manager or business owner can do. By tackling it head on with clear communication you will send a message to all employees that your workplace cares about the overall atmosphere and about them!

Dealing with difficult employees is a great topic to bring a coach in for! If you want to learn more or have any questions we would love to help you make your workplace one of ultimate fulfillment and achievement!

— Brad Thiessen


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