“Buzz Kill” Team Members

Everyone hates a buzz kill.  You know who I’m talking about, that person in the office that smiles during a meeting but then starts a behind the scenes revolt with their negativity.  I hate those types of people.  In fact, there is nothing that will kill my creativity, energy, and focus quicker than a buzz kill.  Most of the time, I, like you, will just deal with the negativity until hopefully they go away.

Well, this used to be my strategy.  I found that confrontation made others uncomfortable, even though I always felt better afterward.  I also found that after confronting such people, you usually become the target of their next campaign.  I know this because I have been one of the casualties of their bitter rage against anything that has life.  So what do you do?

Although the easiest solution would be to show them the hiding place of Hoffa and encourage them to get in, it isn’t practical or realistic.  Here are some tips that may help you with such people.

  • Call them out on it– So many times; these types get away with their behavior because everyone is so afraid to confront them.  Don’t be one of those.  If you are the leader of the group, for everyone’s sake, LEAD!  Sometimes confrontation can make someone aware of the behavior and allow them the opportunity to change it.  Other times, confrontation let’s them know they can practice their witchcraft, just not to involve you.
  •  Are they in the right job?  Another fault often accentuated by someone’s constant bitterness is a misfit.  Engineers do not belong in the sales “ra-ra” meeting.  They’re engineers, they’re going to find ways to be a buzz kill because they’re factual in nature.  There’s nothing wrong with them except they’re in the wrong role.  Help them make the transition and watch their attitude change.  If it doesn’t, help them find the right job or help them find the door.
  • Get them out! Let’s face it, there are those people who just enjoy being negative because that’s all they know.  They refuse to change because change scares them.  If you are trying to institute some radical change, they will do everything they can to keep status quo.  Don’t allow it.  Do everyone a favor and get rid of the complaining deadweight.

Dealing with buzz kills on your team can be draining.  With that said, you need to be sure you spend the necessary time to truly determine what is the root.

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help organizations incorporate best practices into their business to help them succeed. In his free time, he also writes a lot on his other blog, Christian Men, Christian Warrior.


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