Bad attitudes will ruin your team.
Negative team members will poison those around them, and ultimately your champions will leave because of it.
Listen leaders, you’ve got to take action. You have to do something about it, because I can promise you this…allowing one negative team member to chase off two champions is going to implode your team. If you don’t stop that right now, then you are allowing the negativity to shape and mold your culture.
These team members are literally forcing culture on you, and the company and/or team.
If you are a team leader, it is absolutely shaping your team’s culture. DO NOT allow it. It is dangerous!
Here are 7 things that will help you lead a negative team member:
1. You Must Desire To Help The Team Member
Most people just want to shut the negativity down, shut the person down, and stop the junk. Listen, there’s a reason why this person is being this way.
You have to start off by caring more about them than yourself.
2. Take Them Out Of The Office
Don’t do it where you know it’s going to get people talking. You know that people are going to see that there is this conversation going on, and by the way, it could get heated, they might blow up a little bit.
Take them out of the office.
3. Explain Why You Are Meeting
You have to make a judgement on how important this meeting is. Is this a discussion or is this an emergency meeting. Set the tone. In other words, if it is an emergency…”Hey listen, I wanted to talk to you, but before we get into everything, I need you to understand this is a nine-one-one meeting.
This is something that you have to understand, if we don’t fix this today, if we don’t solve this in this meeting, there’s going to be repercussions, there’s going to be consequences, so I need you to understand what this meeting is all about.”
You have to say up front, so that they have an expectation of what’s going on.
4. Set The Ground Rules
Set the ground rules. Listen, no being mad, no yelling, no being personally offended if something does come up, then I need you to say something.
5. Gain Perspective
It’s all about perspective. You’ve got to ask tons and tons of questions and plan on following up every question with a why. Ask them questions. Find out what’s going on.
Find out why they felt that way. Find out how they feel about the leadership, and the company.
6. Focus On Understanding
Focus on understanding why they believe the company wouldn’t want them to succeed. Why do you feel that way?Ask them to help you understand why they believe that. Then fill in the information.
The communication will help to remove the fear. It will help to get them feeling good about their position and it will help to have them not have the broken belief system.
7. After All Things…
After you help them to gain perspective, shown them that you care, set their expectations, and after you have helped them to see that the company does want them to succeed or at the very least the leadership over them wants them to succeed…after all of that explain that the negativity has to GO!
If it has been done well and they are on board, then they will go back and bust it.
QUESTION: How have you handled a negative team member
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Today we are talking about, going from such great positive stuff, moving into negative things. Like
negative team members and how to lead a negative team member. This is one of those things that a lot
of people struggle with. I mean, come on, who hasn’t experienced a negative team member somewhere
where they worked before, or many negative team members. I can tell you there are places, and I hate
to think back to those days. I hate to think back to those days where you have a bunch of negative
people or a handful of negative people. I’ve had some of those team members and just hated being
around it. You hear me say that champions don’t want to be around negative junk because they don’t. I
don’t, I can’t stand it.
Whenever we have anything that comes up that might possibly be negative here, guess what we do? We
hit it head on, we tackle it, we talk about it, we talk through it. I lead the team, I guide them, I direct
them. We literally today had a fantastic conversation with the whole team about a situation and how
people can perceive things and how some people might hear something one way and somebody’s going
to take it on another way and yada yada yada. All kinds of stuff leading the team into understanding our
root systems and what happens to us when we are in and while we are fighting to change lives and help
people, and just a powerful, powerful discussion, a powerful meeting about it that was one of those
things that grew my team. It grows your team when you spend time focusing on this and solving stuff.
If you have people that are in it to win it, did I just say that? That are in it, that are going to take it
seriously, that are focused on growth that are focused on bettering themselves. If you have people that
are in it for that and you know how to lead them, then great. Fantastic. It’s going to work. The struggle
that I find all the time is that nobody has taught most leaders how to do just that.
Most leaders gain their leadership wisdom/knowledge/direction from the people who led them and if
they did a bad job, then guess what? You’re probably going to do a bad job. If that’s your leadership
before you … I’ve had good leaders, I’ve had terrible leaders. I’m going to be talking about this very thing
at the next level leadership live event. I discovered within months of being put in leadership, within
months, how not to do it the way I had been taught.
I have been working since I was fourteen years old. Literally. I’ve literally been working since I was
fourteen, and so I had been working for quite awhile, had a few leaders and I started doing the very
things I’d been taught and I watched it not work. I watched it tank quickly and within a few months,
probably about six months of my leadership, I was on the ground floor of Etrade back in the day, and I
wasn’t even in a supervisor role, I was an assistant supervisor back in those days, but assisting in leading
the team and watching my leadership style just tank people, and it not work out. I had to make some
very quick adjustments and started learning how to do it the right way and as I started learning and
started trying and testing and seeing, does this work, does this work, does this work, at twenty one
years old I was doing this. I started discovering what works best.
Most people don’t do that. They don’t spend time trying to figure out how to lead well. They spend time
trying to convince other people that they are a leader, that they have a title, that you should listen to
me, that I’m important. Forget that junk. That doesn’t mean anything. That doesn’t mean anything. It
doesn’t get you more loyalty, it doesn’t get you more work. In fact it shuts your team members down
Instead, I wanted very productive team members, so I learned how to speak to them. I learned how to
lead them. I learned that I needed to be the one out front in the process and when it comes to negative
team members, that is something that I have struggled with throughout my career as in leadership, in
entrepreneurism because there are some people out there that are just dang negative. They assume a
ton of junk. They assume that there are all these bad things about the company, that there’s bad things
about the leadership. They’ve always got a reason; they’ve always got something going on. Nobody can
ever do anything right, nobody can do anything good enough. There are always problems and they’ve
always got to complain about it.
I can tell you that it is one of the most frustrating places to be for you as a leader if you are a champion
and definitely your team members if they are champions. That type of person would not make it in my
culture. Period, because my culture, my team would be like oh heck no, we are not letting this in.
Everybody in my team has come from a place that has had bad culture. Everybody’s experienced that.
Everybody that is listening to this has experienced bad culture.
Just look at our societies culture today. There is this insane clash of hatred and negativity and junk and
everybody wants to call everybody else out on their negativity, on their crap, on everything and tell
everybody how wrong they are, and tell everybody how bad they are. It is just beyond annoying. While
you are not going to do a whole heck of a lot about it out in society, you better do something about it
when it comes to your team.
Listen leaders, you’ve got to take action. You have to do something about it, because I can promise you
this…allowing one negative team member to chase off two champions, is going to implode your team. I
don’t care if you are the team leader, I don’t care if you are the entrepreneur, some one has to jump on
this. Somebody has got to do something about it, but I’m probably going to tell you some things that
you’re not expecting to hear from me.
When you are looking at that team member … I’ve got seven things I just want to hit with you on. Hit
with you on? I want to hit you on. I don’t know. Being able to speak intelligently is one of those things J
so now I have eight things I want to teach you about. There are seven things I want to hit you with, how
about that. Oh boy. The thing is you have to understand, when I’m talking about negativity, I’m not
talking about somebody who just shoots holes in things because they can. I’m not talking about
somebody who just sees problems in presentations and all that. I’m talking about somebody who is
coming up with some crazy stuff, and I shouldn’t even say crazy. Bad assumptions. Somebody with a
broken belief system about you, about the team, about the company, whatever it is.
If you don’t stop that right now, then what you are allowing to happen is you are allowing them to shape
and mold your culture. They’re literally forcing culture on you and the company, or at least that team. If
you are a team leader, it is absolutely shaping your team’s culture. Do not allow it. It is dangerous.
First thing you have to do, number one, you must desire to help the team member overall. This is the
most important thing that you’ve got to set as a mindset. As you go into this thing, most people just
want to shut the negativity down, they just want to shut the person down, they want to stop the junk,
they don’t want to hear in anymore. Listen, there’s a reason why this person is being this way. You have
to start off by caring more about them than yourself.
Chris, why would I even do that? This is somebody who’s spreading poison, this is somebody who is
forcing bad negative culture, you just said so. Why would I want to do that? Because you might find out
some important stuff. You might find out some things that you need to hear about you, about the team,
about the company. You don’t know until you care more. You’ve got to care more about them. The
moment a team member understands that you care more about them than solving them as a problem,
that’s the moment that they will open up to you. That’s the moment that you will get good quality
information from them.
What you might find out is there is somebody who doesn’t belong at your business. What you might find
out is there is somebody who does not belong on your team. You may find that out, but you also might
find out that you’ve done a cruddy job as a leader. Who knows? You might find out that they are
learning things on the front lines that nobody else is. You never know. You’ve got to start by caring more
about them, desiring to help them overall. If you go in with that, understand this is one of god’s kids,
you know, think about it being one of your children sitting in that chair, how would you want them to be
treated by their leadership?
Second thing is when you are tackling a very negative team member; take them out of the office. Don’t
do it there. Don’t do it where you know it’s going to get people talking. You know that people are going
to see that there is this conversation going on, and by the way, it could get heated, they might blow up a
little bit. Don’t even set yourself up for that junk. Take them out of the office. Take them to go get
coffee, take them somewhere close. It doesn’t matter. Maybe go find a park or something like that, go
find a bench and sit down and talk to them.
Get yourself out of the environment, because the environment is representing most likely a problem
that they are having, so get them out of that. If they are struggling with the team, if they are struggling
with the leadership, if they are struggling with the company as a whole, then go ahead and get them out
of that place where they are not focused on that. I’ve taken the opportunity to take a team member to a
park bench and just sit down and talk with them, and it was so easing to them, it was so calming to
them, because it wasn’t in the environment that they were struggling in so heavily. Get them away from
the office; go spend some quality time with them.
Number three, explain why the meeting. You have to make a judgment on how important this meeting
is. Is this a discussion or is this a nine-one-one emergency meeting. You have to discover what that is
and then you have to set that tone. In other words, if it is a nine-one-one … Hey listen, I wanted to talk
to you, but before we get into everything, I need you to understand this is a nine-one-one meeting. This
is something that you have to understand, if we don’t fix this today, if we don’t solve this in this
meeting, it’s an emergency. There’s going to be repercussions, there’s going to be consequences, so I
need you to understand what this meeting is all about.
You have to say up front, so that they have an expectation of what’s going on. If they’re going into this
meeting thinking that they are going to beat you up and be able to control and manipulate you, well
then guess what? That’s the tone they are going to take. If they understand that you may fire them after
this meeting, they’re going to understand that. They’re going to know, okay this is very serious, I could
lose my job right now.
If it’s not that kind of meeting, then back it down. Hey, listen this isn’t a nine-one-one meeting or hey
listen, I’m seeing something that is starting to get out of hand or something that we need to hit on, so
this isn’t an emergency, I just wanted to touch on it. Wherever that range is, wherever that place is,
whatever the importance of that meeting is, explain it, explain the why.
This is why we are doing this because it’s just something that I see might get out of control. Whatever
that is, make sure their expectation is set on the front side. Too many leaders, and I tell you, I have had
leaders who I love to death, great people. People with the greatest hearts that I’ve watched have an
emergency meeting with somebody and the person walked away having no clue. No idea that it was
important, no idea that it was an emergency. No idea whatsoever, and that leader going I think it went
No, no it did not. They have no clue that you are about to fire them. Bring them back in and start all over
again. They have got to understand how important this is or they have to understand how vital this is,
because if they don’t understand that, then they are probably not going to be as serious about it as they
go about their daily walk.
Number four. You have to set ground rules. Listen, no being mad, no yelling, and this goes for both
people, or everybody involved, whatever it is. There is no need. The moment people get emotionally out
of control; you’re losing the control of the conversation itself. Control, by the way, is an illusion. The
concept is I’m going to shut you down with my threat of anger. That doesn’t … We’re trying to have a
conversation here, we’re not trying to have a battle of who can control what.
Set the ground rules. Listen, no being mad, no yelling, no being personally offended if something does
come up, then I need you to say something. If something comes across the wrong way, if I say
something and it’s offensive to you, then instead of being offended, do me this favor, ask this question,
“Hey did you mean to say that this way?” Now, yes, I know that this is going to be difficult to do, but
let’s try it. Let’s try and not get offended.
The moment you become personally attached to the conversation itself, it’s over with. Somebody’s
going to try and stay in control. Somebody’s going to try and be over the other person, but if you can
stay from being mad, if you can stay from yelling, if you can stay from being offended or feeling the
need to defend in the situation, then we can have an actual conversation.
It’s something I work on with team members from time to time, is saying, hey listen, as we talk through
this, if I see somebody that feels the need to be defensive in a situation, I will say why are you feeling
the need to defend, and allow them the time to go huh, why do I feel … Well I feel the need to defend
because of this, this and this. Is that even something I’m asking about? Well no. Am I the kind of leader
that rips your head off? Well of course not. What am I going to do next? You are going to ask how do we
solve this. Great. Don’t defend, no need to defend. I cannot stand the blame game. I hate the blame
game. I don’t care. I want to find out how did it happen, how do we solve it, how do we make sure it
never happens again.
If it happens five times, not even five. If it happens three times, now we’ve got a different type of
problem, but that usually does not happen in my culture, so I don’t care about the blame game. How do
we solve it, what do we do, how do we fix, how do we go forward, how do we make sure it never
Set those ground rules. Listen, no blaming, no need to blame anybody here. No need to…if you feel the
need to defend, I want you to think about it, because we are talking about a conversation that may
require them to defend themselves, so just tell them, if you start to feel that way, remember, I’m trying
to have a conversation, I’m not trying to beat you up. I don’t want you to feel that way, so put down as
many ground rules as necessary, but understand that you better follow your own freaking ground rules.
Don’t put ground in place and then you don’t do anything about it. You only hold it against them. I’ve
seen that as well. I’ve seen leaders that can yell or can prod somebody into a direction and then the
moment they respond in a negative way, they shut them down. It’s like you are the one who got them
there, so don’t do that either.
Number five, one of the most important. It’s all about perspective. Listen, you’ve got to ask tons and
tons of questions and plan on following up every question with a why. I had a client whose team
member was just blowing up at leadership. He was so upset with how things were going, a sales person,
and he literally was telling people, he literally believed that the company was trying to push their best
sales people out. This is literally what he believed.
Now, I want to know why are you thinking that, so I want to find out how do you view the company. I
want to know that. I want to know what they are thinking. I want to know what’s in their mind. If they
are thinking that the company is just a group of individuals that doesn’t care about anybody else and all
they care about … I mean, listen to what is happening in society today, because of some idiots that
made some really big mistakes, all business is bad. All corporate is bad. All leaders are bad. Anybody
who is an entrepreneur is bad. It’s just ridiculous how everybody in business is … businesses are bad. No
they’re not. Businesses are who actually employ. Small businesses are who actually employ half of this
Listen. I want to know, what is your view of the company? If your view is this company only cares about
money. This company only cares about taking care of themselves. This company only cares about
building mansions and buying cars or whatever. I want to know that. Then I want to know why. Why is
that true for you?
We had a fantastic team that came in a couple weeks ago and some of the old school people used to
make this comment about well that just got the owner another swimming pool. It was like a huge order
of something that netted a thousand dollars or fifteen hundred dollars, but for some reason, somebody
put poison in the team members and said, oh look, all of our hard work just got the owner a swimming
pool. Oh for the love! Does that even make sense? Do you even understand what it is you are talking