Thursday, 6 September 2012

Staff Infection?

This post was prompted by memories of a staff member who I was hired to replace in a retail store many years ago. 

Negativity breeds negativity.  When one staff member starts griping about a customer, or their shifts, or working conditions; it prompts other staffers to do the same.  It’s typical Canadian conversation to say, “I hear you.  If you think that’s bad, get a load of this…” and try to one-up the other person.

There are two things wrong with this scenario.  First, staff members number two and three don’t have to one-up staff member number one.  When someone tries to bring negativity or gossip into the room, let it end with you.  Be Teflon.  Let it hit your outer ear and slide to the floor.  Secondly, if there’s a problem, the manager or owner needs to know about it.  A true manager isn’t the top salesperson; they are the person with experience and responsibility for problem-solving.

A lack of open dialog can be the fault of a subversive staffer or a manager who turns a blind eye.  Either way negativity will thrive in an atmosphere devoid of open-dialogue.  If you can relate to what I’m talking about, do these three things:

1.     If someone is negative or causing a problem, confront them directly and see if you can’t work it out between the two of you before involving the manager.
2.     Refuse to get involved in negative talk.  “If a slanderous word is uttered in a forest and nobody hears it…”
3.     When you hear something positive, try to say, “I hear you.  If you think that’s great, get a load of this…”  Be a force for spreading POSITIVE talk.

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