#1. Start with isolating the problem. If Debbie Downer complains at every company function, put her (or him) in charge of something. Keep that person busy so their negativity doesn't impact the rest of the team's fun and productivity. Have Mr. or Mrs. Downer check in people, be in charge of the open bar tally, or take notes at the meeting. After a few functions of busy work, and not having an input with the actual group or company, Debbie Downer will be forced to figure out that she has been isolated and needs to become more positive to be part of the team.
#2. Address him or her. If Debbie Downer hasn't figured out that he or she has been isolated for a reason, or the behavior gets worse, then you have to be forward and address them. I know confrontations are hard but a negative person can drag gown your company's moral and profit margin. Be polite, but be firm and to the point. Express that the negativity isn't going to be tolerated.
#3. Fire Mrs. Downer. If you address the negativity issue with an employee and the behavior continues- fire him or her. Don't stand around requesting change or hoping for it. Instead, change the employee for someone who is more matched with your team or company's culture. Steps one and two are strikes one and two. Remember, third strike and you're out!
Until next time,