There are some people who love to bash the bosses of their own organizations. They’ll tell anyone who will listen that upper management are idiots who ‘just don’t get it.’

If you have an employee whose favourite sport seems to be biting the hand that feeds him (her), you are best to deal with the behavior as quickly as possible. Left unchecked, it can have serious long-term effects on a team’s morale and attitude. Here’s the process:

1. Bring your employee into your office, or someplace private for a conversation
2. Get straight to the point, e.g.: “Fred, I need you to stop disparaging Ms. Johnson while you’re at work…”
3. Give him the benefit of the doubt, e.g.: “You may not realize the negative atmosphere it creates…”
4. Explain why, e.g.: “It brings people down, it’s unprofessional, and it makes you look like you’re not a team player…”
5. Empathize, but stand firm, e.g.: I understand that you might get frustrated from time to time, but that’s not an appropriate response…”
6. Get a commitment, e.g.: “Can I count on you?”

One thing to keep in mind is that your employee might not actually realize what he’s doing, or why it might be wrong. Some people feel that they are just legitimately ‘being honest,’ and haven’t thought about the repercussions of their behaviour in the bigger picture. You need to be firm and let people know that you stand for a positive, respectful workplace.

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