When Employees Go Nuts: Dealing with Workplace Conflict

In just the past few weeks, each of the above stories has been in the news. In today’s world, nothing in the news shocks me, but with so many people desperate for jobs, I often wonder what drives people to act in such a manner, knowing full well that if they are caught they will lose their jobs.

As a leader, manager, or executive, you may be breathing a sigh of relief thinking that your employees would never do anything that extreme.

april imageHowever, there may be a risk to your business that you have no idea even exists.  It's called “actively disengaged” employees. According to Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce, “roughly 13 percent of workers are psychologically committed to their jobs and making positive contributions to their organizations.”

The remaining groups consist of “not engaged” at 63 percent, and “actively disengaged” at 24 percent. Actively disengaged are the ones to worry about. They may not be abusing office property or physically fighting with other coworkers, but their negative impact on your business could be tremendous.  Let’s dig into what “actively disengaged” means.

Generally speaking, disengaged employees were once engaged, but something caused them to become unhappy with their job.

The more negative employees are at work, the less productive and valuable they are for the organization. Here are the four most common bad attitudes in the workplace:

  • Negative emotions toward the organization. It is common to have one or two select employees who continuously make snide remarks about company leaders or co-workers. These negative feelings toward the organization clash with organizational goals and hurt the workplace environment.
  • Insubordinate challenges to authority. Employees with bad attitudes might refuse to perform a task just to prove a point. That is disrespectful, unprofessional, and sure isn’t helping your organization!
  • Overly argumentative. Employees who aggravate and pick fights in the workplace create an uncomfortable and distrustful team setting. These employees don’t make efforts to compromise or settle disagreements with coworkers.
  • Lazy, unmotivated. These are the employees who aren’t engaged in their work and spend most of their time goofing off and causing distractions. An infographic created by the National Business Research Institute shared that disengaged employees spend their time sleeping, playing games, using social media, and socializing.

Solution: Find the Source of the Bad Attitude

Finding the source of a difficult employee’s bad attitude can help you coach and manage the employee’s behavior without making him or her more upset. Let’s face it, we all have grumpy days, but a prolonged bad attitude usually means there is something else going on.

Employee assessments that look at behavior and personality traits can be very helpful for mangers. They can let mangers know how employees respond to hardships and interact with their peers. With that information, managers can know how to best develop and coach the employee through a difficult time.

All employees have different personalities, different thinking styles, and different management styles. It is crucial that managers take into account their own management style, along with the employee’s personality, to ensure that they can effectively adapt to and manage any situation.

If the employee’s behavior goes too far, and they remain employed, it could seriously damage staff morale. Do not hesitate to let these people go just because they are high performers. One person could badly affect the remaining engaged and productive employees who are the backbone of your company! So don’t wait – act!