Dealing with Highly Negative Staff

Dealing with Highly Negative Staff

December 29, 2018

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We all find some people difficult.

Whether this is felt consciously or unconsciously. I’m no psychologist but it is probably totally normal.

Its an accepted norm that if everyone was the same life would be very ‘grey’ and boring.

Would you rather be Vanilla or Marmite?

The understanding that we will find working with some people easier than others suggests it will be inevitable that some days we will find the people we work with difficult. In my experience worse of all difficult behaviours can be negativity.

So what happens when you are dealing with a difficult member of staff at work?

We recommend you start with 5 questions:

  1. What does the person do which makes them difficult?
  2. Is there something you would like them to start to do that they are not doing?
  3. Do they behave in the way you find difficult with everyone else?
  4. Does this happen to a few people or just one person and who?
  5. What is the context for the behaviours you don’t want to see/experience?  For example is it late in the afternoon, first thing on a Monday or after constructive feedback.

Once you have the facts you can work out what to do.

Remember diagnose before prescribe.

Let’s say the behaviour you don’t want to see if that are highly negative. This will include behaviours such as seeing the down side of everything, telling you every new idea won’t work, focussing on what they don’t have.

One method to deal with negativity is to meet it with more negativity, it might sound counter intuitive, but try it.

Say during a meeting the negative person says, “its awful I can’t work with the new online learning journey.”

You could meet that with, “that’s terrible, I am really concerned that you feel this way, what you have said will have extreme consequences for us as we have adopted this system for recording the children’s next steps now.”

You will be surprised by their response. Where tried you will often get back, “oh well I will give it a try and  see how I get on”.

Remember negative people are often so focussed on what they do not want, they can find it impossible to identify what they do want.

You can help them to see that what they need is to work with their employer. By working with you rather than against you everything becomes easier. They may even find themselves less negative.



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