Toxic to a Team- Negative Nancy

There always seems to be one out of a group.  You know the scenario, momentum is building, ideas are flowing, team engagement is high and then someone speaks up negatively and it all shuts down.  “Just know, it’s extremely difficult”  or “Don’t get our hopes up, they are pretty restrictive with that we can do, my ideas have all been shot down.”  It’s disheartening to see excitement and engagement immediately wiped away.  Critical feedback is always welcome, but ideally with solutions presented as well.  Our job as leaders is to lead through that.  We can help them navigate through it, ultimately making a better environment and the teamwork stronger.

5 Steps to Impact Negative Nancy:

1- Listen–  By listening to the way someone articulates their complaint you can usually pick up a few things about them: Are they a detail specific person, is the problem based around a lack of consistency, were their feelings and hard work not validated?  Are they frustrated with effort put forth and no results ever taking place?

2- Recognize their concern-  Have you heard similar things, are there other details you are aware of that they are not.  Is this new information to you?

3- Validate it– “Yes, I can imagine how frustrating that has been.”

4- Encourage– “The good news is, there are at least three options that have already been approved, so we can start there.  The great thing is we can continue to still build ideas and if we implement them and they say no, that’s fine, we will tweak it when the time comes.”

5- Empower– Now you are ready to lead.  You can now engage them and the situation with specifics that will validate and encourage them to help pacify their moment of frustration.  You can then invite them to dream with you for a second, “I completely agree that a lack of consistency can be frustrating.  With your experience I bet you would be great at helping create some systems to encourage consistency.  I would really love your help in that so we can make sure we don’t make that same mistake again!”

Your goal and solution may not always be to solve it, but you do want to engage it quickly and efficiently to avoid further negativity and side-tracking the entire group.

Believe the Best: One of the best values that I learned from Cross Point Church was Believe the Best.  It is the fundamental idea that if you choose to believe the best about someone, you see them in their full potential and you are able to extend grace much easier.  I don’t always do it well, but I do try every time to practice this value with everyone I meet.  It has helped greatly.

Happy Impacting!



3 thoughts on “Toxic to a Team- Negative Nancy

  1. Rachael says:

    This is going to seem silly, but there’s this line in a movie that stuck out to me immediately, and I think about it often.

    “People make bad choices when they’re mad, or scared, or stressed. Throw a little love their way, and you’ll bring out their best!”
    -Trolls from the movie Frozen


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