What should I do about a negative colleague?

Friday November 22 2019

Jane Muiruri

Jane Muiruri 

By Jane Muiruri

I have a negative colleague who always says bad things about the company. It is affecting the team. What should I do? Linet

Dear Linet,
In life, there are people who look at the glass as half full, and those who look at it as half empty. It is important to understand that most people behave according to their level of exposure, and their past experiences.
Are you aware of any challenges at the workplace that could be stimulating this negative energy? Is the workplace environment conducive? What about the relationship between members of different departments? Does your organisation have a forum where employees are free to give feedback on their level of engagement and satisfaction? If there isn’t, approach your line manager and HR to address any issues that are affecting your work.

How close are you to your colleague? Could he be deflecting challenges he is experiencing in his personal or social realm? His behaviour in the office could be a sign of an underlying challenge that needs intervention. If this is the case, your colleague needs to be treated with compassion, and if possible, refer him to HR or advise him to talk to a counsellor who will unpack the hidden issues.
You must have heard of employees who commit suicide due to life’s challenges, so please take this matter seriously and find a way of convincing your colleague to get help.

Does your colleague feel appreciated as an important member of the team? In your own small way, you can influence decisions and make the workplace a happier place.
Perhaps he should also consider looking for an alternative employer because it is pretentious to report to work every day to a company which he thinks very lowly of.

Jane Muiruri
Senior HR Manager,
Nation Media Group