The Melting Pot 71— 24th January 2020
HOW TO DEAL WITH TOXIC STAFF
It’s so easy for corrosive attitudes to set in and spread like wildfire in a business. Often they originate with one or two people who spread their poison to others. You know the ones. The mood hoovers who suck all the joy out of a conversation, like a dementor from Harry Potter. Or the one who likes to gossip and foment division by spreading ‘them and us’ rumours.
Whether it’s office politics, hostile relationships or lack of trust, a negative work environment can lead to disengagement, lower retention rates, decreased productivity, and sheer misery all around. Everyone suffers when the atmosphere at work is negative — employees, leadership, and ultimately the company and its bottom line.
Research from Gallup has found that toxic staff cost the American economy up to $350 billion a year. Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, in their brilliant book ‘First Break All the Rules’ call actively disengaged employees “cave dwellers,” drawing the acronym from the fact that they’re ‘Consistently Against Virtually Everything’. In a Gallup interview, Coffman said, “Negativity is like a blood clot, and actively disengaged employees sometimes clot together in groups that support and reinforce their beliefs’.
If you’re grappling with staff like this, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, human beings are hard-wired for negativity. It’s a well known scientific fact that the human brain has a ‘negativity bias’ — it reacts more strongly to stimuli it deems as bad. Our attitudes are more heavily influenced by downbeat news than good news. And nastiness naturally makes a bigger impact on us.
So with the odds naturally stacked against you, what can you do?
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