Have you ever known someone with just a really bad attitude? One of those people who just never could be happy, or see the good things in life over the bad. They can sometimes drain the life out of people who otherwise have a great attitude.
Now imagine this. You run a company and you’ve assembled a rock-star team. Everything is going great – morale is high, sales are climbing. Then you decide to hire a new staff member to help grow the company. On paper this new-hire checks all the boxes for education and has impressive experience. Once when they start working with your team though, it becomes obvious that this person simply has a bad attitude. Their attitude becomes toxic after a few weeks and you notice that your once stellar team starts to slip – morale is lukewarm, and sales sort of fall flat or worse start to drop. Your employees aren’t as cheerful as they once were, and they don’t seem to be taking as much pride in their work.
What you have on your hands is a case of one bad apple that spoils the bunch.
You can spot bad attitudes a mile away. When you’re interviewing a candidate, it often times helps to have a conversation with that person before looking at their resumé. It can help you determine whether this person is a cheerful person, or a downer. You might get blinded by their qualifications and miss the fact that they’ll bring the rest of your team down if you look at their resumé right away. Once you determine that they will be a good fit for your company’s culture, take a look at their experience. Is there anything they’re missing? Are those things teachable? If so, it’s a heck of a lot easier to educate your new-hire than it is to bring morale for your whole team back up out of the gutter.
What if you just hired this person? It might be worth talking to them about how their attitude is affecting the rest of the team. If they can’t seem to shake their attitude, you might consider letting them go. It seems a bit harsh, but you wouldn’t keep someone on your boat if they kept popping holes in the bottom would you? Of course not. If you did you’d all be in over your heads in no time. If they want to go for a swim, that’s where they belong.
Now, I’m not talking about the one-off bad days. Someone who gets in a car accident, or has a death in the family is going to have a bad day or two. Maybe more. Generally, if they were a cheerful person before, they’ll bounce back soon enough. Those aren’t the things that bring down the rest of your team, because they’re understandable. I can sympathize with someone who is upset that their car just got totaled. On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t sympathize with someone who was equally upset about getting pickles with their lunch order.