Luke Watkeys, Business Manager
Outcome; world is safe and a happy ending.
This analogy translates beautifully to dealing with moaners.
We’ve all met them: and many of you may have had the misfortune of having to manage them. They are the people who drain you of energy instead of enriching you, the people who pull you down instead of pushing you up. They are toxic people who can turn a happy day into a living hell.
Left undisturbed, a toxic moaner can even infect a whole team. Even those with really sharp people skills can often get caught up in the polluting relationships toxic people create. Robert Hogan, a well-regarded American Psychologist, termed it the ‘toxic triangle’; situations involving a destructive (toxic) leader, susceptible followers, and a conducive environment.
Returning to my extra-terrestrial concept, the mothership is the destructive leader, susceptible followers are the subsidiary spaceships, and the conducive environment is Earth (i.e. your workplace).
Now we have made the link, herein follows the solution.
Identify the mothership. Who is the focus of the moaning? They’ll be the one either leading the charge in team meetings, or the person always caught whispering to others at the water cooler.
Once you’ve identified the mothership, make sure that your workplace is not a conducive environment for moaning. Set firm boundaries, ideally pointing them to an explicit code of conduct. The code of conduct should make it clear that staff should not damage the morale of others or their perceptions of your organisation by repeatedly making negative and non-constructive comments.
You’ll find that by targeting and tackling the source of the issue, the toxic triangle crumbles, and de facto their followers will fall in line. You then don’t have to waste your energies trying to reel the whole team in.
Whether you want to make your working environment harmonious and hassle free; or you want to feel like Will Smith in a Hollywood blockbuster, there are many benefits to a targeted approach to difficult behaviour.