Unhappy, disgruntled, or difficult workers come in different types, and while stereotypes don’t apply across the board, you are likely to see certain behaviors in just about every workplace.
Let’s start with the unhappy person. These are the people who always seem sad, no matter what they are doing or what other people try to do for them. They are critical of everyone and everything. How should you deal with them? Try asking what’s bothering them and what would make things better. They may not be able to articulate anything, or they may ask for something that you can’t grant. This is your opportunity to explain the range of possibilities.
An offshoot is the negative employee. They are similar to the unhappy person in that they are the “glass half empty” staff member. They are also unhappy but what distinguishes them is that they only see problems. Talk to them about solutions. They aren’t used to thinking that way so it won’t happen overnight. But when they bring up a problem, you ask them to brainstorm possibilities. Make them do the work. You can direct them, but if you suggest something, a negative person will likely dismiss the idea. If they come up with an idea that you think might work, they might buy into the solution.
The complainer doesn’t have a filter. They are like the negative employee, but they like to have an audience when they vocalize their ideas. If you are their boss, listen to what’s on their mind…to a point. Coach them about how they should air their concerns and when and where this should happen. Let the person know that their attitude impacts others.
You might have someone on your staff who is argumentative. To them, debate is a sport. If you comment on the beautiful sunny weather, they will want to discuss its impact on skin cancer. Having a conversation with them is always a challenge. They aren’t happy unless they can win the debate. Managing a person like this requires a lot of patience. You have to establish boundaries. You let them know that while you are listening to what they say but then you and they have to move on.
These are just a few of the personality types that you are likely going to face in the workplace. There are others. I share more about the kinds of people you encounter and how to deal with them in my online course, “Managing Difficult People.” It is based on my research on how getting the most from every employee helps make work a more pleasant experience for everyone. More information is available HERE.