Problem: You have a negative employee – the office critic – who finds it a challenge to make it through one work day without criticizing your decisions, disparaging colleagues, or complaining about your company’s policies or culture.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but there is a fine line between sharing a differing viewpoint in a way that adds real value, versus exchanges that do nothing but create conflict and drama. The end of result? Your staff morale and productivity takes a severe nose dive.
The law of averages dictates that you will eventually be faced with the dilemma of dealing with the office critic who can only see that the glass is always half empty. And the reality is, when ‘negativity spreaders’ are not confronted, the venom can very easily spread to other staff.
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So just how do you inoculate your employees from the office critic and address the behavior?
Statesmanjournal.com offers the following simple steps on how to effectively deal with an office critic:
1. Understand change from the employee’s perspective. Employees can put up with change as long as they can talk openly about it. Remember most negative people don’t know that they’re negative because no one ever tells them.
2. Find the fear, then focus on solutions. Teach negative employees to focus on offering solutions, not just criticism. Turning the griper into a solution provider gives them a genuine avenue to contribute.
3. Do some coaching. Work with the negative person on improving their attitude. Chances are, these people are complaining because they think they have good ideas that haven’t been heard.
These tips require you to have a vested interest in coaching your employee to turn the behavior around as opposed to cutting the cord and terminating your direct report. Unless the behavior is extreme, making an attempt to turn the behavior around through coaching is a best practice that should not be overlooked.
Whether you choose to coach your office critic or terminate, make sure that you document your course of action and make sure that you are being consistent and fair in how you apply your approach to addressing the issue with other staff members.
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