In this episode, I will discuss the importance of confronting negative behavior in the workplace and provide specific examples of how to do so with empathy and kindness. Listen to learn how to create a collaborative environment where everyone can thrive. Don’t miss this episode – it’s a game-changer!
00:00:03 – Introduction
This is the Your Sports Resource podcast where each week you’ll learn actionable strategies that you can implement so the operations of your club support your coaching staff and the direction of your organization. We are committed to excellence in youth sports leadership.
Let’s get started.
Hello and welcome to the Your Sports Resource podcast. My name is Renata Porter, and I really appreciate you choosing to listen to our podcast.
I’m still building this audience, and to be honest, sometimes I do question if I’m doing the right thing by spending all this time creating episodes, but I have to say I was talking to a prospective client last week and they told me that they listened to the podcast and that they really enjoy what I’m doing.
So just getting that little bit of feedback has been tremendously uplifting. So, for those of you who listen, I really do appreciate you.
All right, today I want to talk about something that can be a tricky situation. I read this quote some weeks back, and it really stuck with me.
I don’t remember where I saw it, probably LinkedIn or Instagram, but the statement was this.
“Sometimes the most loving thing you can do as a leader is to help someone realize the impact their negativity is having on other people.”
For me, I related this to work or business. I’m the type of person who is also not afraid to use the word love when referring to my team.
But if it bothers you, swap out loving to important or responsible. So let me read that again.
Sometimes the most important thing you can do as a leader is to help someone realize the impact their negativity is having on other people.
As a leader, it’s not always easy to confront your team members about their behavior, especially when it’s causing problems for others.
Negativity in the workplace can be toxic, and it’s the leaders’ responsibility to ensure that the team members are contributing positively to the environment, thus creating a great culture.
When a person’s behavior is causing problems for others, it can affect team morale, productivity, and even lead to turnover.
As a leader, it’s your responsibility to address such issues before they escalate.
Now when I say leader, the logical line you’re going to draw is to head coach or associate head coach, or board member.
But I would also consider situational leadership in this instance. A situational leader is when someone steps up in the moment whether they wear the title or not.
So, if you know someone who behaves in this way at work. And you have a decent enough relationship, maybe you can be the one who steps up and has a conversation with this person.
Even though it’s not easy to challenge someone about their behavior, especially when it’s negative, avoiding the issue can just make it worse. And I know you know this.
So, approach situation with empathy and kindness. If you come in hot, it’s really going to go sideways, especially if you want this person to stay and continue to add to the team in the areas that they do well.
So, you want them to hear you and make changes for the better, start by acknowledging the person’s strengths and contributions to the team.
Then express your concern about their approach to how they make comments or speak to others and how it’s having a negative impact.
It’s important to provide specific examples of how their behavior is affecting others.
For example, you can mention how their negative comments during team meetings is demotivating to others, or how their constant complaints are affecting team morale.
And I would drill down even further, use words they use, and talk about the tone they’re speaking in. That’s also a big differentiator.
It is essential to be specific and to avoid generalizations and these examples, the person might very well know what they’re doing, or they may just feel like they’re trying to provide feedback and their approach is lacking.
So, if it were me and I was preparing to have this conversation, and I knew what examples I was going to use, I would also have some various ways to say the same thing that wasn’t so demotivating to others.
This way you’re showing them that there are better ways to say things so they can be heard, right. So instead of saying this, try saying this.
Now, if this person is just a complainer, well, you have to be direct in telling them that their negativity affects engagement in the meetings or on the floor, or wherever it happens.
Instead of having a truly collaborative experience, you know the meeting ends up being a talking head. You know, just you talking with no engagement. Because everyone is just anxious to get out of the room.
Now, on the flip side, you have to be open to feedback from them. Most likely, you’re going to be met with a complaint or a negative statement because, well, that’s their MO.
So, you have to be prepared to listen to what is said and then follow that negativity with again, this isn’t how we expect people to work together.
But let’s just say for argument’s sake that the person has a different perspective on the situation. If you don’t listen to that perspective, well, then you aren’t really helping the situation at all, are you?
But if you do try to understand their point of view and they feel heard, and together you can work on a plan to address and shift that negative behavior collaboratively.
Well then, you’ve got that person on your side, and then the appreciation sets in. A big part of ensuring that your approach is successful is how you, as their boss, move forward.
Are you going to give them time to course correct, or are you going to hold it against them? If you can set the tone for course correction.
You will make pretty impressive strides not only with this person but with the team.
And at the close of the discussion, reassure them that you have confidence that they can work through this and find better ways to voice their thoughts, restating that you want them to contribute.
However, it needs to be in a constructive way, in a better tone.
And then when they do the right things, even if it still doesn’t land with others, smile at them, reassure them, and offer encouragement that they are attempting to modify their behavior.
You know, in all honesty, your staff have probably been getting more of an earful than you have, so they are going to take more time to convince.
To be convinced that this person is going to change.
So, if you let the person know that they are on the right path, it will help them to continue to do the right things whether the team sees it or not.
Additionally, follow up with them in your one on ones. Make it a point to ask how they’re progressing on this and if they need any support from you.
What I witnessed in clubs and university programs who are dealing with a negative person is that they completely avoid the situation.
I get that it may feel easier to not argue or deal with the problem, but as the head coach or board member, whatever have you, you have to let the rest of your team know that you want to create a culture of collaboration and working positively with one another.
And if you ignore the problem. It’s that old bad apple spoiling the bunch scenario.
Besides, what I don’t understand is why would you choose months on end of crappy behavior and disappointment from the rest of your team over 60 minutes of a direct conversation?
It makes no sense. One is quick and over with, and the other is dragging it out. All right.
To sum up, helping someone realize the impact of their negativity on others can be a really powerful tool to improving team dynamics and creating a positive work environment.
As a leader, you need to approach the situation with empathy, provide specific examples, focus on the impact, listen actively, collaborate on a solution, and follow up with support.
By doing so, you can foster a culture of positivity and productivity which benefits the entire team.
Thank you for listening, and please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast so we can reach more great people such as yourself.
You can also find more resources on yoursportsresource.com. Thanks for spending time with me.