How to Deal with Negative Employees

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A business has many assets – its technology, its product, its customers and most notably, its employees. Your team is one of your major assets. Without a good team, you are not going to be able to deliver your service or product to your customers as you intend. To that degree, you’ll have difficulty building and keeping your customers and clients.

No matter where I have traveled around the world there is one thing every practice or business has in common: there is difficulty in selecting the right employees. Even more importantly, recognizing and dealing with those employees who are not contributing or even worse, are destructive to the welfare of the organization.

By observation, any group breaks down into 1) players, 2) pieces, and 3) broken pieces. Here is what I mean:


As in any sport or game, you have a playing field, you have the game you want to play and rules of how to play. When you look at your team, your real players are passionate about what they do. They play by the rules. They play hard to win. In a practice or business your players are those who really put their shoulder to the wheel for the organization.

They are aware that if the organization does well they prosper as well. This is the type of person who jumps in and helps without having to be asked or who can always be depended upon to be on the job or who suggests solutions to problems that arise. These are your real players.


Then you have those who are simply pieces in the game. They show up for work and “do their job”.  It isn’t that they are negative at work; they just aren’t passionate about the job or achieving the goals of the organization – they punch in their time card but if difficulties arise within the practice or business they will likely look the other way and think, “It’s not my problem.”

Broken Pieces

Broken pieces are those who do not contribute anything to the organization or worse, do things that hinder the success of the organization. They can be very good at pretending to be a player and so can go along, sometimes for years, undetected.

Here are some examples.

1) There are employees who are busy telling everyone else how to do their job but close inspection finds they are not actually producing anything themselves.

2) There are all too often instances of employees stealing from the business or office.

3) And just as destructive, there is the employee who secretly undermines the executives by complaining behind their backs and countermanding their instructions or policies all the while professing their dedication to the organization.

Worker Orientation

Unfortunately, our modern society has become worker oriented – meaning the attention leans to the “poor worker” as opposed to supporting the practice or business and keeping it prospering so that there is plenty of work for everyone. For any business to be successful, the owner must be able to detect what type of employees they have and handle accordingly.

Players deserve all the support you can give and an occasional pat on the back even though they don’t usually ask for it. Pieces can often be turned into players through adequate training which we will cover in our next article.

Broken Pieces must be detected and handled with priority by executives.

I have observed situations where owners had a sense something was not right with an employee but for various reasons weren’t addressing the situation. In some cases the employee had become friends or practically family. Or the employee had convinced the owner or executive how “valuable” they were and they couldn’t possibly do without them.  Also, it takes money and time to hire and train employees. It can seem “easier” to the executive to just let the situation go and not have to deal with hiring or training.

By keeping a destructive employee on without dealing with the problem you create a camouflaged hole and you are going to wind up falling in it by having to deal with the upsets, goofs and turmoil created by the broken piece. Keep this in mind: any position is better left unfilled than filled with a destructive employee.

Broken pieces, going unhandled, cost the company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Yes, I mean that, hundreds of thousands of dollars, or more.

Trust Your Instincts

If you ever have a lingering feeling or negative thoughts about an employee and they keep haunting you, you’ve got a broken piece and it is time to do something about it as it is costing you money, causing you stress and stress amongst your employees.

To build an effective team you must work to hire players and train, train, train your players and pieces so they become competent at their jobs. When a person becomes more competent at what they do they become more passionate and more and more player.

Sometimes it takes the trained eye of a consultant to detect who the players, pieces and broken pieces are in a practice or business and help the owner build an effective team. That’s what we at International Executive Technology do.

To help you, we have produced a film on the subject of hiring and handling employees in the workplace called, EMOTIONS IN THE WORKPLACE.

Click here to watch a trailer for the film.

We invite you to receive a free business analysis.

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