Antidote to Handle Negative Attitudes
We’ve all seen it: A negative attitude. It could be one of our team members, or it could be a customer. It would be nice if we had a spray can of “Positive Scent” to spray away any poison in the atmosphere, but it doesn’t work quite like that.
A TEAM MEMBER WHO IS NEGATIVE
If you have someone inside your organization who tends to be negative, do something proactive that keeps the negativity from spreading (or from you losing some of your best people who get frustrated with the negativity):
- Have a private chat with them and let them know that you (and probably others) are noticing their tendency to be negative.
- Let them know that they need to see things in a new way.
- Tell them their change in attitude must be immediate and sustained. (“Immediate” means when they leave the room they must make the change, and “sustained” means that they can’t go back to old negative habits.)
- Remind them that when they first interviewed for their job, the negativity was not there. You want them to return their thinking and actions to match their behavior that day.
A PROSPECT OR CUSTOMER WITH A NEGATIVE ATTITUDE
With external people, we must handle things in a different way. You can’t pull them into your office for a conversation.
- React to any negative talk with a smile so that they can see you will be taking the “high road”.
- If they point out something negative, think of the positive about that point.
- This is important: Do not use the word “but”. Here’s an example of what I mean…
Customer: “These prices keep going up and up. I’m sick and tired of it.”
You: Yes, you pay more, and you get so much more.”
(Notice that I did not use the word ”but” in anything I said.)
Remember to keep an eye on any negativity you spot. It can occur at any time—especially if you have a disgruntled team member or a new one who didn’t show you the negativity during the initial hiring interview.