Negative team members can cause problems for the whole team. Today, Chris and Perry talk about what a leader can do to eliminate negative influences and grow their team.

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Perry Holley:    Welcome to the Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a Maxwell Leadership facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:     I’m Chris Goede, Executive Vice President with Maxwell Leadership. Welcome, and thank you for joining. Perry, I’m excited today as we talk a little bit about leadership in the workplace and culture and organizations, and we’re going to talk today about something that we probably all are guilty of, some more than others, and we’re going to talk about negative emotions, and I’ll get to the title in just a minute.

Perry Holley:    Is this an intervention?

Chris Goede:

This is an intervention. That’s right. On your behalf. Usually you do it.

Perry Holley:    I do it.

Chris Goede:     You do it for me, but I’m doing it for you this time. But before we get started, I just want to encourage you to visit If you’re interested in learning a little bit more about bringing Perry as a keynote speaker, or one of our executive coaches and facilitators that can help you and your team and the culture inside your organization, there, you’ll see a form. If you’ll submit that information on the form, we’ll have someone from our team get in touch with you. Well, today’s topic, as I just mentioned a minute ago is, your negative emotions are sinking my boat.

Perry Holley:    All right.

Chris Goede:     I love this. I love the illustration. Perry uses this illustration quite a bit, and it’s something we talk about around employee engagement levels, right-

Perry Holley:    Correct.

Chris Goede:     … and what that looks like. If you go back to one of our episodes, I think it was number 113.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. Right.

Chris Goede:     We talked about turning watchers into rowers, and we used the same kind of illustration around this boat. What we really want to help you do is get your disengaged or your actively disengaged people moving to the front of the boat, where they’re engaged. Today, we’re going to talk about this with having team members that have negative emotions and how it can be sinking your boat, and what we’re going to do about it. Now, tell me. Am I off base there? Is that what you’re thinking in regards to connecting those dots?

Perry Holley:    No. Yeah, you’re exactly right. It actually came, a question from a listener, and Javier asked us about how do you deal with jealous, insecure or negative people that, who can negatively affect the entire team and how you work together? I thought it was an interesting question. We don’t talk, we don’t talk enough about that. About, it seems like everybody’s rowing in the same direction. Well, they’re not. Some people may be struggling. As a leader, you can always coach people, and try to get people to step up, to get rid of disruptive behaviors. But when someone’s personality or demeanor, it can be difficult to know exactly what to do. So, I thought maybe we could talk today.

Chris Goede:     Love it.

Perry Holley:    I’ve just been thinking about this. What would I do? A few steps I would probably take that I think a leader could, because, we all have folks, whether it’s just going through a tough time, and they’ve got a bad attitude or a deep, more deeper than that with more jealous or insecure as Javier points out. I think we could, we could probably help folks like this be a better contributor to the team.

Yeah. Javier, thanks for submitting this question to us, and this thought, because this is real. As a matter of fact, everybody that’s the listening right now, you’re thinking about that team member or that individual that is inside your organization that has that negativity, that is a problem. If you can’t think of anybody, as John always says, well, then it might be you. We might need. So, I love this. I love the transparency of the question, because I think we all deal with it. What’s really important about this leaders, is that if you don’t address this, if you don’t work through this, then it’s damaging your credibility as that leader. We talk about this in our 5 Levels model, at Level 3, where our job is to have the team produce, and part of that producing is having everybody kind of row in the same direction.

The rest of the team, the rest of the organization may know, and feel that negative attitude. So, it will undermine your culture. It will cause undo and unnecessarily drama. It’ll undermine the values of your organization. If you don’t do something about it as a leader, whatever that might be, and we’ll talk about a couple things that it can be. It’s not just … Perry and I are not telling you to go out and fire this individual, right? Like, that’s not what we’re saying, but there are some things to work through, but you need to address it and you need to walk through it, to protect the culture and the team and your leadership and your leadership credibility.John talks about that, we need to be a part of coaching, mentoring and developing the whole person.

Chris Goede:     Yes. We, work with our team members, and spend more time with them than we do those in our personal life.

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     So, why would we not want to just help coach and lead this entire person? You got to be careful with that. That comes with some baggage. I’m not saying jump into everybody’s personal situation, but there are ways, and we’re going to talk about it today, that you can walk through that with them, and give them the opportunities to improve that negative emotions that they’re showing in the team, that’s contagious.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. If you do have a disruptive personality on the team, to your point, is if you don’t take action, other people start it to ask, why aren’t you taking action?

Chris Goede:     Right. That’s right.

Perry Holley:    It starts to reflect on you negatively. So, I’ll just, I have a few of these. I’ll get your feedback on how you’ve seen it play out in the workplace. Number one by far is, provide feedback to the individual. Are you letting them know that there’s, that you’re observing what you’re observing and what you’re seeing? Are they aware of their effect on the team? Oftentimes, I’ve done this where I’ve called it out to someone, and they were not aware.

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    They apologized vehemently and wanted to fix it. They didn’t realize, something else was going on in their life. They got, they didn’t realize that their attitude was coming through to others. I think when you share your observations, I know in that case, when I gave this young man the feedback that how he was being perceived, how he was being received by the people on the team and his attitudes, his jealousy, about some things, judgment of other people, negative attitude, he was shocked. He said, “I’m apologized, and I want to get that right. He actually went to a team meeting and apologized to the whole team.

Chris Goede:     Wow.

Perry Holley:    In other cases, people may not be so quick to step up to that, but it’s, I think by far, the first thing you need to do is step up to the difficult conversation to providing the feedback to the person, so they know what you’re observing.

Chris Goede:     Yeah, and this goes by to a phrase. I wouldn’t say a word, a phrase that we talk about a lot here around self-awareness. And one of the great things that we use as a leadership tool, and a common language of our conversation to what Perry’s talking about, is this intent versus perception that the intent of that individual is not to come across that way, but the way that it’s being perceived by you as their leader or their team, it is, and that’s a great way to have that conversation. “Hey Perry, I know you don’t intend to be negative Nancy in every idea that comes up in the meeting. However, the perception that I have, and the team has is that you are,” so can we talk a little bit about, and then you go into almost kind of a coaching moment to be able to do that.

So, I think helping them understand the perception of what the team has about them, will help them from that self-awareness standpoint. Now, I know we’re talking about this negative emotions, but Javier mentioned in his comment to us, this phrase of jealous and insecure, which is also something that we deal with, but just seems a little bit different-

Perry Holley:    Yeah.

Chris Goede:     … than the negative emotion.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. That’s a good point, and the second thing I would say that a leader could do is, and it really speaks about someone’s, call it the self-concept, and the way I’ve always had it explained to me, the self concept, how you see yourself is really your self-ideal, your self-image, your self-esteem, all important, the total makeup of how you see yourself. Many people struggle with how they see themselves, and I’m thinking that your self-ideal is the ideal person you want to be. Are you upholding yourself to that ideal that you have, and the self image about how you see yourself relates to the performance and the, on a moment to moment basis? Am I performing well? Do people think well of me? Self-esteem really best defined by, do you like yourself?

How do you, how much you love yourself, and how, how well do you look upon yourself. I’ve, I teach this often, and people will say, “Really, is it my job as a leader? Can I really affect your self concept of yourself?” I’m thinking, “No, your self-concept is not my responsibility. But if I knew how important that was to you, are there things I could do as a leader to help promote a positive self-concept to you so that you do see yourself better?”

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Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    I don’t know what happened in your youth. I don’t know what your parents or guardians or anybody did to you about how you see yourself. But, I know today you’re, and under our charge, I want to speak positively into who you are and what you can contribute here. I think a lot of people you think as a leader, is that really my job? Well, my job is to help you see yourself as well as possible.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. The self-concept that you’re talking about here, one of the ways we like to talk about it is, it’s really the way that you think, feel, and see yourself, if you want to simplify it and pull out your key words there, as you kind of what you talked about it being made up of. So, how do you think, how do you feel, and how do you see? I think there are absolute ways, that as leaders, that we can help our team members that are in this situation improve their self-concept around that. So, one of the that we want to start with, and talk about is just from a feedback. A lot of times people go, “Oh, well, I just, I feel like I need to provide positive feedback, and I, but I don’t want to come across as inauthentic, or I don’t want to come across as fluffy, so like, how do I go about doing that?’.

Chris Goede:     One of the ways that I’ve just tried to do this over the years and, I’ve seen great leaders do it too, is that they find something specific about an interaction, a job, a whatever it might be, a task, whatever it might be that you’re, they’re going after. They find a very specific thing that they go, “Hey, let me tell you. You did a really, really good job right here.” So that it’s tied to a specific, which then it means a little bit more to that individual, which then gives them just a little bit more air to breathe around that positive feedback. The other thing, which we’ve talked about is, in the past, you want to make sure that you have them on the right seat and in the right position.

Perry Holley:    Yeah.

Chris Goede:     Because, if not, the pressure to perform these days and the pace of which we play, and things are faster now than the ever been-

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     It’s just going to be a vicious cycle for them, and it’s going to be deflating, and it’s not going to help their self-concept. Then the last thing that I just want to mention here in regards to this, from a self-concept is the power of belief. Now, John talks about, he puts a 10 on everybody’s head.

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     He does it from a belief standpoint, and it’s their responsibility through our coaching, our mentoring, and developing, for them to be able to just live up to that 10, to stay at that 10. But a lot of leaders, I know you and I can just remember people that believed in us, and allowed us opportunities and situations we would’ve probably never believed in ourself to do that. So, that helped our self-concept, because somebody believed in us and enough to do that. My encouragement in just mentioning those three things is, you will definitely help their self-concept. Just do it authentically.

Perry Holley:    Yes.

Chris Goede:     Don’t don’t do it to be blowing smoke-

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     … for them to try to lift up their negative attitude or emotions.

Perry Holley:    Well, it’s when we talk about, are you motivating or manipulating?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. That’s right.

Perry Holley:    [crosstalk 00:12:02] trying to manipulate you to get something from me. I laughed when you said about putting a 10, every single person I say, “Have you put a 10 on their head?” “But they’re not a 10.” I’m like, “I didn’t say they are a 10.” I want, like you said, it’s a belief.

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    You can be a 10 and I see you as a 10, and people know if you believe in them. I think, as I thought through this self- concept, and the jealous and negative emotions, it always seems to come back to people who don’t believe they have what it takes. Somehow they’re comparing themselves with others. They’re comparing themselves with you, other people on the team. I just find if you’re gauging your worth to the organization or even to yourself, based on how you compare with others, that’s going to be a problem. I think as a leader, I can probably go a long way toward helping you find your … I love that, what you said about put them in the right seat. Maybe they’re in the wrong job.

Chris Goede:     Right. Right.

Perry Holley:    Maybe I could find their strengths and weaknesses, and align them correctly so that they do compete, and they do know that they have what it takes.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    But, I spend a lot of time telling people they have what it takes, because I believe he wouldn’t be on the team … I mean, we made some big decision to get you here.

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    You have what it takes.

Chris Goede:     That’s right.

Perry Holley:    But they may not believe it. So, how can I help them with that?

Chris Goede:     In that comparison game, it is never good in any situation in your life, especially not on day to day in your organization, in your culture. Matter of fact, I believe the enemy of leadership is comparison. What I mean by that is we define leadership as influence, and the enemy of that can be when you are in a comparison mode, because listen, there’s only, there’s three things that happen when you’re comparing yourself, or your people are comparing themselves to others, right? You’re either going to find yourself as inferior to them.

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     Right? You’re going to find yourself as superior to them, which is another problem. Both those are problems.

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     Or, you’re really never going to even see truly who they are, because it’s going to come through your lens and your frame when you’re comparing, when you’re, or your team is comparing them. So, I love what you said, because the comparison game will drive a lot of negative emotions, but it is not a game that we want to be playing, not only in your organization, in your personal life either.

Perry Holley:    No.

Chris Goede:     Especially, we’re not going to talk about this, but especially with what goes on in social media.

Perry Holley:    Oh, yeah.

Chris Goede:     Like, people begin to compare their story to other people’s social media story. But, you made a note here that I just want, I want our listeners to pay attention to. So, Coach John Wooden, tremendous basketball coach, UCLA, tremendous leader. He often taught these two things, and I think they’re a great just to share with our listeners. He said, “Don’t try to be better than someone else. Instead, learn from others.” The second thing is, “Always try to be the best you can be. This is something you can control. This is under your control.” I think those two principles are key for people that begin to play the comparison game.

Perry Holley:    I love that, because where I was going with that was he really was talking about, can we be more teachable? Instead of resenting others or being jealous, be teachable and see what others, what I can learn from others on the team. I think, you first demonstrating and modeling teachableness this as a leader-

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    … Lets every, it’s easy to look at you as a leader and think you’ve got it all together. You’ve always had it easy. You’re just so this or that. When you say, “No, I’m always learning from someone. I’m actually learning from the people on my team. I’m learning from the peers, the other leader on the team,” you just set yourself up and them to say, “Hey, we’re never, none of us have arrived. There’s nothing to be jealous about. We’re all trying to grow.” It’s funny. I was out with a client last week, and they invited me to an outing, a team outing, because I was there. It was very nice of them, but they, it was around golf and kind of a top golfie type of thing.

Chris Goede:     I missed that invite by the way. Thanks for the invite.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. He was a 30,000 mile flight for you. You might not have been there, but there was a woman that had obviously never played golf, and there was a guy on the team who was a golf pro. He taught golf. She kept, he was trying to help her, but she kept, almost yelling at him, You don’t think I can do this. Why are you doing that? Stop.” I go, Dude, you don’t know how to play golf, and he’s an expert and he wants to help you.” I thought,n what a example of not being teachable.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    He was trying to make her, give her a more enjoyable outing with the team, because she can make a bigger contribution-

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    … to the team aspect of this. But she was pushing back, like “You’re doing this because you don’t think I have what it takes.”

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    I thought, oh, I’m writing this lesson. I’m thinking, oh, this is a really good example of, hey, if you’re just teachable, I’m a pretty good golfer, and I was hoping you’d come over and talk to me. Hey, could you help me? What am I doing wrong to do that? But, I guess I’m looking at your thoughts on, do, is this about making sure everybody on the team has a personal development plan? We talk about-

Chris Goede:     Oh yeah.

Perry Holley:    … personal development, but where does that play in this, helping me see myself differently?

Chris Goede:     Yeah. I think that’s a non-negotiable. I believe that everyone that is growing and is learning, is beginning to focus on what they’re learning and what they’re growing. Not necessarily what they don’t know or what has gotten them in trouble in the past or whatnot. So, when we talk about comparison and competing and growing, I had this quote that says, “Evaluate ourselves, versus ourselves.” So, for you, from a growth standpoint, no matter what it is, this young lady that was playing golf, could you imagine what she might have looked at on the first tee, having a golf pro playing along with you all, to what it would’ve looked like on the 5th tee, if she would’ve been open to that from a personal growth standpoint. So, I believe when you get into that mode, yes, things are going to happen. Yes, she would’ve failed. There would’ve been failure along the way in holes, and she would’ve missed shots. I mean, even you miss them once in a while.

Perry Holley:    What?

Chris Goede:     But there would’ve been growth from that first tee box to that fifth. So, I just, I believe that’s a must.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. Well, I’ll let you wrap this up, but I just, thinking what an opportunity for a leader to invest in the lives of people, even if they’re being negative or jealous or petty about things that it might just not be aware about it, but could you open their eyes, but then help make how they see themselves better. I always loved the Jim Rohn quote that he said, “Don’t wish things were easier. Wish you were better.”

Chris Goede:     That’s good.

Perry Holley:    I thought, yeah, it’s that, a lot of people get into things and it just seems so hard, and then they take up a negative approach on, and said, all of us, we’re all growing. We’re all teachable. We’re all trying to learn and be better. Can you help the people on your team so that they can put aside the pettiness, and put more into developing themselves and competing. They do have what it takes. or they wouldn’t be there.

Chris Goede:     Yeah. Leaders, listen. As I wrap, up negative communication, negative emotions will be, can be and will be the loudest communication in any room, in any team. So, it’s your responsibility to be aware of that. It’s your responsibility to coach through that with those team members. So, here’s, as we wrap up, I just wrote down five things, that going through this lesson that I think are just ways that you can, when you see negative emotions and communication in your team, that you can just kind of check yourself as a leader. First one is, are you being a good example? You just mentioned that. Are we living this out? It’s contagious either way, by the way.

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     Right. So, is it us, that’s a reflection of what’s going on? I just had someone tell me a story the other day. We were talking to a CEO ,and he was talking about one of his C-suite guys he’s frustrated with, because he reprimands very loudly and in a negative way, and his team members, and then all of a sudden he gets upset because a couple days later his team members are doing the same thing to their teams.

Perry Holley:    Right.

Chris Goede:     So, be the example.

Perry Holley:    Yeah.

Chris Goede:     Second one is, man, connect and listen to your people. What is going on? Why is that negative emotion there? We’ve got to coach, mentor, lead the entire person. That was, the third part was we got to coach them through that. Then there, you may have to part ways. Remember, your credibility as a leader is how you’re going to handle that situation. We want to encourage you to work through it, develop through it first, give them, put a 10 on their head, and then give them every chance they can. But you may have to part ways with a certain individual, if you can’t mend those fences.

Chris Goede:     Then, the last one was reevaluate it frequently, because we do get into, oh man, things are good. Business is good or this and that. We just go, oh, well, he’ll keep, he just needs to keep producing. We’ll deal with his emotions. We’re going to challenge you to say, that’s not the case. Like, you remember, negativity can and will be the loudest voice in the room, so let’s make sure that we’re reevaluating that frequently with inside your team.

Perry Holley:    Yeah. Henry Cloud says you have what you have because of what you created or what you allowed to be.

Chris Goede:     Yeah.

Perry Holley:    So, this is a chance to step up. Well, thank you, Chris. Great insights. Just a reminder, if you’d like to learn more about our offerings and what we do, or even download the learner guide for this episode, you can do that a You can also leave us a comment or a question. We love it when you do that. That’s all today from the Maxwell Executive Leadership Podcast.

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