Effectively Managing the Moaning Minority

Every workplace seems to have one: the employee who enjoys nothing more than deriding the company to colleagues, complaining about pay or working conditions, how their previous employer was so much better to work for and so on. If the employee in question has held their role for a number of years, or is regarded as being good at their job this can add to their credibility. Over time, repetitious diatribe from a single individual can sow the seeds of negativity among colleagues, eventually resulting in lower employee morale, loss of a team spirit and a decline in productivity. Furthermore, once this cloud of workplace negativity has descended it can be incredibly difficult for a manager to reverse.

Identifying, and dealing with, workplace moaners and morale-sappers is something that a manager must attend to swiftly and effectively. Maguire Training offers a comprehensive management training course, 'The War on Negativity' which examines the commonest causes of workplace negativity and its wider consequences, and provides effective strategies for eliminating negativity and promoting positivity.

Whilst an appropriate course will equip you with all of the skills necessary to identify and resolve workplace negativity, depending upon your situation it may be necessary to begin addressing the issue before you have had the opportunity to attend training. If that's the case, here's a brief guide that will help to ensure that your initial approach is both constructive and effective.

Your first actions must be to flag the issue with your HR department to find out if there is a standard procedure that must be followed, and then to raise your concerns with the employee at the root of the problem. This should be handled discreetly on a one-to-one basis and care should be taken not to apportion blame or criticise a 'bad attitude'. Instead, it should be highlighted that negative behaviours are directly linked to the effectiveness of both the individual and the team, and are regarded as a performance issue. If your company offers an Employee Assistance Programme you might suggest referral of the employee as a means of helping them to regain a positive outlook in the workplace.


To avoid potential accusations that the individual is being picked-upon or victimised, your employees should be addressed, as a group, and made aware that each of them is responsible for ensuring positive and productive team collaboration in line with achieving the company's goals. If practicable, it may be helpful to introduce a means of monitoring and rating positive or negative behaviours and linking this rating to individual or team objectives as a measure of performance which may be referred to in annual appraisals.


If you do find it necessary to tackle the issue of a negative employee before you attend a training course, the most important aspect to remember is not to let any frustrations with the employee colour your own attitude or behaviour.


If time away from the workplace to attend training is an issue, The War on Negativity is also available via Maguire Training's outstanding e-Learning platform which provides candidates the flexibility to receive valuable management training on demand at the time and location that is most convenient for them.

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