How to deal with a negative team member

I need a guidance on how to make a good decision as a supervisor. What would be the wisest way or attitude towards a worker who always is ignorant or always with a negative mind and keeps communicating or discouraging others about the workplace.

Thanks, and Kind Regards,


Dear Elder

The role of the supervisor is crucial to the effective performance of their company, but can sometimes be an uncomfortable and lonely role. The supervisor is the first line of management, and bridges the gap between their team and management.

It can sometimes be a difficult role, as they are a go-between, representing their team and their views and problems to managers, and representing managers to the team.

I have covered the role of the supervisor in detail on this site. It may benefit you to select this as your next course. it is part of the managing people section.

Managing People Lessons

Role of the Supervisor Lessons

Within this module you will find a lot of advice as to the wisest way to manage workers who are affecting morale in the way you describe in your question. I will discuss some of the salient points here, but recommend you take the module in its entirety.

As a Supervisor your task is to develop your team, ensuring each of them has the skills to operate effectively, and that the team works at optimum effectiveness. You must offer leadership and training to your team. You are responsible for task allocation, as well as the morale of the team.

It is up to you to set the culture and tone of the workplace, and give a good example: Motivate the team and its members to achieve targets, ensuring they keep within the company strategic direction. Offer training to team members if required, arrange induction for new members, and help them ease into their position on the team.

Regarding your problem team member, you need to find out why they are acting in a negative way, before they destroy team morale. They are obviously unhappy about something; you must attempt to establish what it is and try to correct the situation. Aim to act as friend, coach, mentor and manager to them and others, establishing a good relationship with them. Without being intrusive, find out a little about their personal life, family, problems and aspirations. Once you have a dialogue open, maybe you can discover what the issue is with your negative team member. Ideally you can address the issue and find a way to smooth things over. If you can’t, then you have to find a way to stop the negative behavior or remove the team member before they demotivate everyone.

You need to tailor your management style to each person, offer help and guidance to new people or those struggling. But have a lighter touch with people who are familiar with the system who won’t benefit from being micromanaged.

Sometimes supervisors will find themselves in the role of peacemaker, spotting and defusing potential conflict, hopefully before it escalates into a serious problem or a row. They need to understand both sides of situation and be able to defuse the situation if required.

Try be fair and even handed, don’t show favoritism to anyone.

So, it is easy to see why your role is essential to the smooth running of a business. Good luck with tackling your problem