Overcoming Negativity in the Workplace PART III

Even if they try to get you to get off topic by:

A) talking about how "other" employees are also late, you may want to respond with "this is not about anyone else, it's about your action."

B) diffusing the issue by making excuses like, "the kids are sick, traffic is just unbearable". One possible response is "I empathize. I know how it feels. That still doesn't exempt you from the expectations we've set for everyone. Whatever you have to do, your responsibility to yourself and your colleagues is to be here by 9 a.m."

C) that they stay late every day, keep them focused on the expectation. You may want to keep them focused on the correct expectation by saying, "I expect you to be at your desk between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. not 9:30 and 6:45 —You don't get points for being a workaholic."

Throughout the counseling process, (and any conversation) get rid of your big BUT! Once you begin a statement with something like, "you're talented, BUT..." the person you're talking to assumes a defensive Karate Kid position and you way as well end the conversation there. Nothing is going to impact that employee.

Then, go into the consequences, progressively making the potential outcomes more severe or positive. It's critical to also focus on their strengths — reassuring them that there's no reason why they can't be among the top performers or have the right to enjoy all the perks that come with meeting and exceeding the job expectations.

Examples of negative consequences:

"You know that party we're having next week for everyone who has been on time for the past six months. Well, you're not invited to attend."

"I know you enjoy being on that special team that gets to travel the country, right? The people on that team consistently exceed the job expectation. If you continue to come in late, I'll have to take you off the team."

"What would happen if we lost the account because the client couldn't reach you? Exactly, you'd lose your commission, my bottom-line would be affected and the organization would suffer. We may even have to let some people go or freeze raises. We don't want that to happen. Right?"

"I know that you're eager to climb the corporate ladder and get the raise too. I want to help you to reach those goals at your next performance review. If your tardiness continues, I will not be able to recommend the raise or promotion."

"This is the second time we've discussed this issue. If it happens again I'm going to let you go because your actions will tell me that you're just not happy here or motivated to grow with us." Use the firing option only if you intend to use it. Otherwise, should the negative employee challenge you and you do not follow through, you credibility will be gone. Respect is conditional, and by no means a given just because of your rank or title.

Another strategy for overcoming negativity is to visualize! Imagine a barrier all around you that is impervious to negativity. A sign on a wall just outside my office spells out my personal rules,

"Stop! No Negative Thoughts, Comments, Feelings, Beliefs, Actions, or Energies beyond this point! You are entering a positively passionate work environment. Have a powerful, upbeat, productive day!"

Bring massage to your workplace. Research demonstrates that even a 10 to 15 minute massage can lower a person's stress levels dramatically and enhance their coping skills. A chair massage program is an easy way topromote wellness and reduce the hostility that often threatens team and departmental cohesiveness.

Finally, do not battle violence with violence. When someone tries to engage you in a shouting contest answer them in a non-hostile, conversational tone. Regulate your breathing and tone. Use phrases like, "I see your point", "I understand what you’re saying.", "What can I do to help resolve the problem?", "It sounds like you’re upset. I’ll do whatever I can to get to the core of the problem by _ o’clock this afternoon."

Brian Norris is a professional speaker and author of Escape Life Sucks Syndrome. Brian helps individuals to live with passion and positivity

By Brian Norris, ©2000-2009

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