Project Management

How to Manage a Team Member with a Negative Attitude

In an ideal world, everyone who worked on a project would have a positive attitude about the work they were doing. But not everyone necessarily cares about their work or the environment, and it can cause issues to your project as a whole. In a post at A Girl’s Guide to Project Management, Elizabeth Harrin describes the options at your disposal to manage a team member with a negative attitude.

Containing Negativity

Harrin is quick to state that a bad day, week, or even month does not constitute having a negative attitude. Sometimes life can get rough and not everyone can work on all cylinders all the time. Issues such as moving, illness, bereavement, or raising children should be taken into account when looking into an employee’s attitude. But if you establish that there are not any major issues in the team member’s life, you can then go about managing them as one with a negative attitude.

The first route is to “performance manage” them. There could be factors within the team or the project itself that are driving their behavior. Work with them to encourage better behaviors or to identify bad behaviors in the first place. Harrin also encourages working with an HR and/or line manager to create a performance plan like this one:

  • Review their objectives: did they know what was expected? Were the objectives achievable? Have other business priorities meant they couldn’t achieve them through no fault of their own?
  • Think about the individual’s skill, willingness, openness to learning new things and improving their performance and see how these elements may have affected their ability to perform.
  • Review the environment: do they have the tools, resources, systems and processes required to do the job?
  • Find out if the individual realises they are underperforming in your assessment. Help them see the situation from your perspective, and make a big effort to see it from their perspective. Organise 360 feedback if you think it is beneficial.
  • Re-set goals; make action plan.
  • Monitor action plan and provide support as required.

The second way to manage a negative attitude is through coercion. But this can easily become workplace bullying and is highly ineffective at improving a worker’s attitude.

If coaching them toward improvement doesn’t work, then it may be in everyone’s best interest to remove them from the project. This should only be done when the others channels have been tried and the negative attitude remains. If you can, try to send them somewhere else where the personality clashes aren’t present and to an area where they can do quality work.

You can view the original post here:

Austin J. Gruver

Austin is a Staff Writer for AITS. He has a background in professional writing from York College.

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