Dealing With An
Idiot at Work
By Gregg Gregory
idiots at work drive away your best employees? How do you describe a
person with a bad or negative attitude? Can you do anything about
it? Stop and ask your self these questions and do they affect you
and your work team?
likely they are present in your work environment and whether the
idiot disturbs you or not, they are most likely disturbing someone
on the team. If you are the manager and your natural style is not
bothered by theirs, your common reaction is to simply ignore the
situation, and tell the others to simply ignore them and forget
about it. This is quite possibly the worst thing a leader can do,
yet it happens all of the time. By doing nothing about it you are
endorsing the behavior (in essence rewarding it) and hurting the
better people on the team. After enough of this, the better people
will become frustrated and begin looking elsewhere for employment.
Yeah that strategy really works.
Let’s stop and analyze negative attitudes and negative behavior:
Before you can stop and analyze the negative attitude or behavior
take out a blank sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle. On the
top of the right column, write a
heading "Positive Attitudes," and on the top of the left
column, write a heading
"Negative Attitudes." Beginning with the right column,
write down the characteristics and behaviors you notice of those who
possess a positive attitude. This should be easy. Your list will
likely include increased team morale, increased productivity, less
absenteeism, less gossip among many others. Go ahead and do this
will do the same in the left column with the negative attitudes. If
you are like most people, among others, this column will include the
opposite of what you have in the right column.
This probably does not surprise you does it? The real secret is to do this with a group, and the most
effective way is to split the group into half. Separate them into
two different rooms before you start. Do not tell them about the
exercise until they are in separate rooms.
group the positive and the other group the negative. Be sure and not
let on that the other group has the opposite. This works
exceptionally well if each group has a large flip chart to write
down the responses. When they have completed the exercise which
should take no more than 15 minutes, bring them together and have a
spoke person from each group read off what they have written down.
What do you think will happen when they come back together?
secret to any exercise is the debriefing. Don’t skim over this part,
and don’t worry if it takes as much as 30-45 minutes. Getting
everyone’s input about the meaning of this benefits the entire team
including those who are already positive.
possible, after the debriefing post both the negative and positive
comments on a wall where everyone can see them.
The reminder factor is amazing.
Also do not be afraid to bring the topic back up at regular staff
meetings. The more you discuss attitudes and behaviors the more
effective the communication among the team will become. As
communication improves so does productivity and when productivity
increases whining and bad attitudes decrease.
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