Every company has one; a “Negative Nelly” on some level who continually brings the team down. Negative personalities seem to be popular as portrayed in Hollywood movies like “Office Space” and television shows like “Ugly Betty”. Yet, this negative attitude can be destructive to the productivity of a team.

Why Negative Team Members Create Havoc in the Workplace

There are several reasons why a negative team member can cause problems for your company. First, negativity is contagious. Just one person having a bad day can cause a ripple effect that crosses into work tasks, client interactions, and team projects.

Second, a negative team member has little to no respect for others. This attitude causes rifts in team structure, reduces creativity, and makes the workplace negative in general. It’s no wonder that negative people are the bane of many businesses.

What You Should Do When a Team Member Has a Negative Character

If you are encountering a person who has a negative personality, there are some things you can do. Follow these steps, but remember to continue to treat the person with respect and consideration, even if you don’t feel like it.

1. Try to put yourself in the person’s shoes for a moment. Your team mate may appear to be negative or have a bad attitude. However, could it be that your he/she simply feels under-appreciated or has serious personal issues? A lot of people develop victim mentalities that end up making them act negative in front of their peers. This is often a cry for help.
2. Be kind and never let the negativity get under your skin. If your interactions with a negative person leave you feeling exhausted, perhaps just be kind and try to take them with a grain of salt. This means not letting their negative personality influence yours.
3. Decide how important your relationship with this person is. The negative personality of the team member may have very little direct relationship with your actual assignment. This means you may be able to avoid him or her. If not, then you need to find a way to deal with the negative attitude by maintaining a sense of humor.
4. Never tolerate rudeness or unprofessionalism from anyone. It is never OK for a person to treat you with disrespect, disdain, or other types of unprofessionalism – especially in front of a client. Stand up for yourself and have self-respect if this happens. State clearly that you do not tolerate such rude behavior from any other person. Period.
5. Discuss discriminatory or retaliatory behavior. Team members with negative personalities can reduce team morale, productivity, and collaboration in very little time. This means you should address the problem by having a private, positive discussion with the person with the negative attitude keeping their dignity in tact.

Whatever you do, avoid getting into confrontations with a negative person, because it solves nothing. Instead, rise above the fold and act like a true professional at work. The other members of the team will admire you for your self-control and you will experience less stress.

Author's Bio: 

Tracey Fieber helps business owners simplify, automate, and grow their businesses and their lives. She believes in the power of hiring the right people, and helps her clients cultivate highly effective teams that allow them to focus on the work about which they're passionate. By nurturing business owners' strengths and holding them accountable for their own success, Tracey's leadership, communication, and coaching techniques help her clients take massive leaps forward.