Systemic vs. Solo
Recently, someone was walking me through the topics they were going to cover in a staff or team meeting. When it came to a list of behaviors the person was going to cover, I asked specifically about the word “negativity.” I inquired, “So, are you having trouble with people being negative?” The answer: “No, just with one.”
Here’s the deal: When you challenge a group of people to be careful of negativity and be positive, the positive people are going to think, “Wow, yeah, I really need to watch that.” The negative people will think 1 of 2 things … “Well, I don’t have a problem with that.” Or “I cannot believe he’s bringing this up.”
You see it? The positive people are going to be positive and the negative people will be negative. Their response to you is driven by where they already are, not where you hope they will go to.
So, how do you deal with the one, or even a handful, of negative people? One at a time.
You’ll find 1 of 2 things to be true when you do …
- You may find a really good reason someone is being negative that you would never know by generally addressing the issue, which can in turn help that person get back to being positive.
- A personal, kinder way to help a negative person see how he/she is coming across and affecting the team.
To sum up …
If you have a systemic issue on your team, address everyone. If you have one person displaying a problem, talk to that person about that issue and how he/she is feeling inside the team.
Get the facts at any price, and hold on tightly to all the good sense you can get. —Proverbs 23:23 TLB