Turn Negative Nancy’s Frown Upsidedown

A positive attitude is a winning attitude.
So what do you do when a member of your sales team is a real downer?

Negativity can be contagious, something that Zeynep Ilgaz, Co-Founder and President of Confirm Biosciences and TestCountry, has encountered firsthand. In an article for Entrepreneur, she shares her experience of dealing with a “Negative Nancy” and stresses the importance of not letting pessimism permeate the entire team.

“A ‘Negative Nancy’,” she explains, “is someone who overgeneralizes in labeling situations and people, focuses on the bad in each situation, jumps to conclusions and constantly redirects the blame. In a business setting, these behaviors can result in harmful effects…”

While the first step in handling the situation is identifying the negative behavior, more action is needed to nip it in the bud—and it’s up to you, the sales manager, to do so.

Ilgaz suggests the following:

  • Confront the person in a calm, private setting and discuss details. Try to uncover what is causing the negativity.
  • Reinforce positive behavior by setting goals for change, and be sure to consider the employee’s thoughts and ideas.
  • Schedule a meeting to follow up with the employee and discuss progress. Recognize and praise positive improvements and attitude.
  • Set a good example. As a manager, you need to demonstrate positive behavior for your team, and when challenges arise, handle them with grace. Remind your team that bumps in the road are inevitable and can serve as learning experiences.
  • Invest in positivity by hosting fun activities or programs. Promote overall well being by funding fitness programs or inviting workspaces with natural light.
  • Have you ever had to deal with a negative team member? How did you handle the situation? If you ever find yourself in this situation, consider Ilgaz’s suggestions; your team, and bottom line, will thank you for it!
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