Updated: Aug 30, 2020
DEAR MOMENTS OF FOCUS: I have an employee who is very negative; his work is reasonably good, but his constant complaining is infecting the rest of the office. Can I adjust his attitude?
DEAR ADJUSTING AN ATTITUDE: Sometimes yes. Often no. Because we are managing people, we must take all things into consideration. Take the time to meet with him and start the process of going through the normal channels of a proper evaluation. Find out what is affecting his attitude and make every effort to help him. If there are any adjustments that can be made from the company’s standpoint, make them.
Depending on how quickly the negativity is spreading through the office and whether he is under a contract will determine how long you should allot for this process and possible probationary period. As a manager it is our responsibility to make reasonable judgments that help our employees and protect the company’s interest. It is sometimes best to transfer or terminate an employee whose work is only reasonably good and is causing problems with the overall productivity of the company. The saying “it only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch” is certainly true in an office environment. Companies need to deal with negativity immediately. Otherwise you may experience a ripple affect that is made by your other employees who may lose respect for the company’s leadership and stop performing at their best. When these situations are not corrected, other employees will begin to leave or believe that they are not required to work at high levels or that because nothing is being done to correct the situation at hand they can function in a similar pattern.