Home > Uncategorized > Negativity? Call it out!

Negativity? Call it out!

October 31, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

I was a panelist as a recent leadership conference in Baltimore, and was asked the following question. A perpetually negative team member can suck the life out of an entire team. How do you correct or counteract the negativity?

This is the process we teach our front-line leaders:

  1. Call it: Don’t fool around; give the candid feedback.
  2. Ask, listen: Get the person talking. Start by asking the dumb question: what is the real problem? Then listen, and listen aggressively . This person is negative for a reason. It’s your job to find out where the negativity is coming from. 
  3. Respond: First response: the negative behavior stops now. Say it just like that. Then you can figure out if you’re going to solve their problem or not. It’s OK if sometimes you’re not going to fix it; some problems are beyond your scope. Either way, tell them what is going to happen.
  4. If this doesn’t work: Get them off the team. Fix it or remove it, but do not tolerate toxic behavior in the group.

You have to move fast: This stuff can get so out of hand so quickly; you’ll have unholy bedlam on your hands if you don’t sort it out today. The sequence is important too. If you respond with expectations before you know the root cause, you’ll misdiagnosis the real problem.

This process requires that you speak with complete clarity and honesty, that you listen aggressively, and that you move with strong resolve. But don’t worry; you already do all that anyway.

  1. Sarah Mott
    November 1, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Wreckless Leader… I chose to focus on “Leader”… Think twice about handing out “wreckless”.

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