Imagine this; Paula is a talented employee, but she has little patience for others in the organization. Whenever someone makes a mistake that affects her work, she immediately gets intensely frustrated, and fires accusations – which border on insulting – at the offending party. On the other hand, she rarely ever admits her own shortcomings, or acknowledges the contributions of others.
She is always intensely negative and has a habit of “keeping score”; why should she help out a different group when they haven’t done anything in return? She might even go as far as to badmouth the other departments to her own people, widening the rift and creating more unnecessary enmity within the company. Talk about not being a team player.
This attitude has started to demoralize everyone that comes into regular contact with her, and more people are coming to you to complain about it. Is it time to let her go, despite her valuable skill set? While most managers would agree, you might want to hold off on that decision for a while longer.
Dealing with Frustrated and Negative Employees
Paula might be a fictional person, but I’ve met plenty of managers who talked to me about similar problem employees. Dealing with a person who has an uncooperative and belligerent attitude is always difficult, since they don’t really think that they are doing anything wrong. Sure, they might admit that they are a bit “blunt”, but they believe that they are simply saying what needs to be said.
You have to keep in mind that these people are not always intentionally malicious. They might simply struggle to find common ground with people from other teams or departments, and feel like they are carrying an unfairly large burden on their own. A common sentiment among the chronically angry is that they think that they are the only ones who care about getting things done right and on time.
This is not an excuse for their poor behavior, but seeing things from their perspective may help you get through to them. Sit them down for a one-on-one meeting, and ask what’s really bugging them. Talk about their biggest frustrations, and what they wish would change. Before tackling their problematic behavior, making them feel like you are hearing them out first can go a long way.
Sometimes, letting people go really is the only option, but you would be surprised at how much good the right words can do. Do you need further help in making your staff happier and more motivated? Give me a call, and I would gladly help.