Do you know an office grumpy?

“Difficult People are your key to self empowerment, you need to learn how to cope with them, not let them dominate and affect you.” Janice Davies

6 Strategies for Giving Constructive Feedback

It’s very common in the business environment to have new supervisors or even seasoned supervisors/managers who have never tuned their skills in giving feedback.  An engaged employee will have higher productivity, will be retained by the business longer, cost the company less and be more supportive of the company executives and mission.

This article is spot-on in helping those managing employees recognize how to give great feedback to their team members!

Enjoy the read,



      You know, the employee who walks in to work with a negative or demeaning attitude. It’s no surprise that bad attitudes are unhealthy in the workplace. The more negative employees are at work, the less productive and valuable they are for the organization. That’s why knowing how to manage difficult employees is a crucial leadership skill.

Here are the four most common bad attitudes in the workplace:   

  • Negative emotions toward the organization. It’s not uncommon to have those 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. Bad attitude employees might refuse to perform a task just in order 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 distrusting 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 from the National Business Research Institute shared that disengaged employees spend their time sleeping, playing games, using social media and      socializing.

Do you remember Grumpy, one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs? He was a master at these four bad attitudes. He was negative, stubborn and made a fuss about everything. But by the end of the fairy tale, Grumpy changed. Despite his initial bad attitude, he is the one who took charge and saved Snow White from the evil queen. 


So before you dismiss the “Grumpys” in your office, ask if it’s worth it to try and manage difficult employees. Finding ways to effectively manage employees with bad attitudes can save your organization the expense of unnecessary hiring costs. Did you know the average cost to replace an employee is 150 percent of the employee’s annual compensation! And those costs can reach up to 250 percent when replacing managerial or sales employees.


Solution: Find the Source of the Bad Attitude


Finding the source of the 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 test behavior and personality traits can be very helpful for mangers. Full-person assessments, like the ProfileXT ™ 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.  

When evaluating the situation, and preparing to talk with the difficult employee, ask yourself: 

  • How does the employee interact  with co-workers?
  • Has the employee’s bad attitude  been a recent change?
  • Has the employee’s workload  changed?
  • Could something have happened  in the individual’s life that could have triggered the bad attitude?

Then, confront the difficult employee privately and respectfully. Let the employee know how his or her behavior is negatively impacting the team and productivity. Keeping the questions above in mind, offer support, but be firm and let them know that their job is on the line if the bad attitude persists. The most important thing is to keep the conversation professional and constructive!

  1. If you can’t think of a  constructive purpose for giving feedback, don’t give it at all. Good feedback should always have a target and aim for      improvement.
  2. Focus on description rather  than judgment.  Describing behavior is a way of reporting what has occurred, while judging  behavior is an evaluation of what has occurred in terms of “right and  wrong” or “good and bad.” Constructive feedback should not be judgmental. For example: The simple statement, “Your communication      skills are good,” isn’t very helpful. Instead, you want to be specific by saying something like, “You demonstrate a high degree of  confidence when you answer customer questions about registration  procedures.”
  3. Focus on observation rather than inference. Observations refer to what you can see or hear about an individual’s behavior, while inferences refer to the assumptions and interpretations you make from what you see or hear. Be an observer. Focus on what the person did and your reaction. For example: When an employee is constantly missing deadlines, approach them with the observation, like “You haven’t been meeting your deadlines for the past two weeks, which is      putting a strain on the rest of the team.” Stay with the facts.
  4. Focus on behavior rather than the person. Refer to what an individual does rather than what you imagine they are. To focus on behavior, use adverbs, which describe action, rather than adjectives, which describe qualities. For example: “You talked considerably during the staff meeting, which prevented me from getting to some of the main points,” rather than “You talk too much.” See the difference?
  5. Provide a balance of positive and negative feedback. If you consistently give only positive or only negative feedback, people may begin to distrust it and not listen.
  6. Be aware of feedback overload. Select two or three important points you want to make and offer feedback about those points. If you overload an individual with      more than that, they may become confused about what exactly needs to be improved or changed. 

Giving feedback constructively benefits everyone! There should always be consistent communication between managers and employees, which both builds relationships and allows for valuable coaching and development. The employee, manager, supervisor, or peer receives the information they need to be successful while the organization gains and improves productivity. 

It’s a win-win.


From Dana Priolo, Profiles International 


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