How to Manage an Employee with a Negative Attitude

There is no room for negativity in your workplace. You work hard to establish a dynamic, empowering environment for your staff so you expect your employees to behave in a positive manner. When you do have a staff member who demonstrates apathy or is often critical, you must take action. Learn how to manage this type of difficult employee.

Have a tough conversation with the offending worker. Prepare in advance by documenting specific instances of negative behavior and the consequences of it. Never issue a vague “you seem unhappy” as the employee can dispute the assertion if you do not have proof.

Set clear expectations for your entire staff. Do not allow an employee with a negative attitude to “slide by” in not meeting your standards. Always document incidents in which the employee refuses to participate or performs poorly especially if you suspect their negativity is the cause. Set consequences for infractions and enforce them.

Consider role-playing with the worker who poses a problem. Ask her to play the part of the manager while you act out the employee part. The purpose is to have this worker understand your position so that, hopefully, she will respond with a better attitude in the future.

Model positive behavior yourself and praise the employees who exhibit good attitudes. Your difficult worker might need an incentive to improve her mindset and actions. Work to keep her engaged as an active team member. Set goals with tangible rewards to inspire her to improve her outlook and behavior.

Negativity in a single worker can spread, resulting in a spoiled environment for all. Take action immediately to successfully manage a dispirited or disinterested employee for the health of your organization.