The negative attitude of an individual can quickly permeate through an entire company’s culture if not kept in check. We ask the experts what we should do with the whingers.
Troubleshooting. To eliminate negativity in the workplace, you must first identify those who are responsible. “Negative people are very good at weeding out those who can be “turned” and after a few moaning, whining, coffee breaks, things can rapidly take a turn for the worse,” warns Gavin Ingham, leading motivational speaker and trainer.
Lead by example. “To change the behaviour of others, a leader must first change their own behaviour,” says Robert Heller, founding editor of Management Today. “The employees know they should do better. They may indeed want to do better. But you cannot simply ask them to do better.”
It’s time to get hands-on. “By managing results and not behaviour, you are not so aware of what your team are doing on a day-to-day basis and how the team perform,” Ingham explains. “Action is as important as results when you seek to motivate teams and individuals.” Secondly, you must take time to outline and explain what you believe positive and constructive behaviour is… and practise what you preach.
“By staying close to your team and ensuring that they are working together, feel valued and take responsibility. spottig unsuitable behaviour will be relatively easy.”
Mr Motivator. “Most misguided staff are off course because they lack direction, not because they are disruptive,” Ingham continues, “Most disruptive behaviour finds its root in misunderstanding.”
Not surprising, really. What motivates one individual is not necessarily what motivates the next. And although you might be driven by bonuses and promotion, your disruptive employee may not. Ingham explains, “Many managers assume that money and promotion motivate individuals. Unfortunately, it may be that these particular factors may not motivate a specific individual at all; they may want security, or fun, or a friendly environment to work in. None of these motivators are right or wrong but we need to know how to harness them ot maintain motivation of individuals.”
Open up the lines of comunication and get to know your team better – that way you can gain an insight into what drives them.
Listen Up. So, is it possible to change negative culture once it has embedded itself? Absolutely, says Ingham, “We need to get to the root causes of the dissatisfaction. Listen to the teams and the individuals; find and nurture common goals; set boundaries and rules; and get the team working together and realising that a positive environment is far more fulfilling.” Most important of all: you need to genuinely want to change yourself. If you don’t feel passionately about the company’s wellbeing, how can you expect the rest of your team to follow suit?
Whinger to winner in five easy steps
- Loosen up. The more hands-on and approachable you are, the more you’ll understand the individual needs of your employees. Be open to feedback and change.
- Lead by example. Your own behaviour must be consistent with the demands you ask of the rest of your workforce.
- Let go. Let those lower down in the company contribute to their full potential.
- Common goals and values. Everybody should be clear about where the company is going and what they’re aiming for.
- Care and share. Understand and care for individuals. Learn what drives and motivates them. Look for the positive intent behind their actions.
Article courtesy of Sagecover magazine October 2007.