Negativity an issue in your business?

Do you have staff who:

  • hold you/your operation hostage?
  • suck the life out of everyone, including you?
  • drain your energy and leave you feeling exhausted?
  • complain about everything (and nothing)?
  • are simply ‘high maintenance’?

Who knows………it is possible that due to some early childhood experience they never learned to self soothe! Or delay gratification. Or stand on their own two feet. Or all of these. But that is not your concern. You are not their parent nor their minder. In my view, you are there to ensure they are the most sought after in their field and hereby secure continued employment. Yet they choose to stay where they are because they get a kick from adding so much value and this is what keeps them pushing through the daily (inevitable) challenges that would overwhelm those with less commitment.

It is a truism that the human condition is to see ourselves differently from the inside to what is seen from the outside. Without a constant reality check, delusion is only a thought away. Look at yourself in a video or listen to a phone call recording and you will see what I mean. (“Who is that person?!”)

Everyone is guilty of this ‘split’ in realities due to a strong mental defense mechanism to stabilise self-perception so that it is not disturbing and unsettling. (Also, sensing rejection by the social group is very threatening and so the brain has an endless number of ways to delude the person that they are the ‘MVP’.)

For everyone to be the best version of themselves, they need continuous ‘grounding’ – access to how they are seen by others. I encourage people to canvass their ‘constituents’( i.e. host group) to ensure they are seen as adding value.

Unfortunately, most workplaces are what may be called sensory deprivation tanks. People simply do not know how and in what way they are having an impact – either positive or negative. Individuals are simply unaware when they are negative and depressing in their demeanour, facial expression, posture, word choice, chatter and casual remark. Like a virus, negativity can spread throughout a group and before you know it, everyone has lost their will to live.

These individuals displayed none of this during the recruitment interview (except possibly incessant chatter, which you thought was charming and bubbly but which then became a constant source of annoyance to people around them.)

But let’s not kid ourselves: the costs to you and your business can be huge when they:

  • mislead others with their own version of reality
  • complain incessantly
  • blame everyone and everything for non-performance
  • frown, sigh, tut-tut and roll their eyes
  • waste time while acting ‘busy’
  • get sick at the most inconvenient time
  • expect everyone else to do the heavy lifting

What message does it send when everyone is told it is critical that we achieve results and be at our best at all times and then they witness the exact opposite day in day out, and no trap door opens through which this person rapidly and permanently disappears? On the contrary, these individuals seem to outlive endless restructures, staff turnover, people coming and going, new managers, old managers, new policies and constant change. They seem to be immune (in their own little bubble) to the world moving on.

When I question this strange anomaly, people either mumble that you can’t get rid of anyone these days or the person is related to someone in high places (or said person appointed them and won’t face facts.)  Suddenly costs don’t seem to matter and that’s because no one puts a dollar value on the intangible costs of distractions, stress, wasted time and the sheer frustration of those working with this person.

High performing teams have a high degree of group honesty and personal integrity. The team always comes first and the individual with their heart and head in the right place will step aside if they are a threat to the team playing its best game. Without such a ‘team first’ commitment, no team can perform to its potential.

These teams are so committed to achieving success and fulfilling their obligations to fans, sponsors and team mates, that they will simply not have it if someone compromises their performance.

360° reviews do not bring the insights that a simple conversation will. Ongoing ‘nudges’ are what we all need to jiggle us into position so that we best serve the collective needs of the group.

Better still, make it a requirement that every member of the team canvass their ‘constituents’ – those they work with throughout an organisation – to find out what is of value to others and what may be costing others (their sanity, if nothing else.)

Without this continuous feedback, self-insight and self-correction, people can become self-referencing and feed off a constant stream of fake news, none the wiser that there is another reality out there. That serves no one well, least of all them.


About Cherri Holland

Fascinated with business, brains and how to use the brains on the payroll to make business buzz.
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