Three Ways to Handle a Negative Employee

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So I heard that the company is downsizing, isn’t that just like them. They don’t even care about their employees. It’s like they are only looking out for their money, said the Negative Nancy. In any work environment, there is always that person. The negative employee who runs their mouths about everything. As a manager or HR representative, we are often faced with having to deal with said type of person even when what they are talking about doesn’t involve us directly. In situations like that, there are good and bad ways to handle the Critical Christine.

Here is our list of three ways to handle a negative employee:


Often, when an employee is being negative we stop paying attention to what they are actually saying. We get annoyed and have already decided on our thoughts about the employee so we just turn our attention to other tasks, out of a combination of avoidance and self-protection, but the best managers get very attentive when someones being negative. They know that the best solution lies in having complete understanding of the situation. An added bonus: in some cases, simply listening can save the day. You may hear about a real problem that’s not the employees fault that you can solve; the tough employee may start acting very differently once he or she feels heard; you may discover legitimate issues he or she has that need to be addressed


Throughout this process, make sure your self-talk is neither unhelpfully positive nor unhelpfully negative. Thinking to yourself, this guy’s an idiot and will never change, isn’t useful, nor is thinking, Everything will turn out fine, he’s great, there’s no problem. Good managers take a fair witness stance, making sure that what they say to themselves about the situation is as accurate as possible. For example, His behavior is creating real problems for the team. I’m doing what I can to support him to change. If he does, great, and if he doesn’t, I’ll do what I’ve said I’ll do.


If things aren’t improving with the negative employee, good managers get specific. They say some version of, I still believe you can turn this around. Here’s what turning it around would look like. If I don’t see that behavior by x date, here’s what will happen (e.g., you’ll be let go, or you’ll be put on warning, or you won’t be eligible for a promotion“ some substantive negative consequence.) If problem employees don’t believe their behavior will have any real negative impact on them why would they change?

35 Years Experience of Experience Handling Negative Employees

So now that you know how to deal with a Cynical Cynthia it’s time to be smart and let PayTech help you in other areas as well. We have been successfully helping businesses for over 35 years. We tailor our service to every client because we know that every client has different needs. Contact us today to get started with our exceptional service! Call us at (602) 900-8807 or send us an email at!


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