Do you know an office grumpy? You know, the employee who walks in to work with a negative or demeaning attitude. It’s no surprise that bad attitude is unhealthy in the workplace. The more negative employees are at work, the less productive and valuable they are for the organization. That’s why knowing how to manage difficult employees is a crucial leadership skill.


Here are the four most common bad attitudes in the workplace:

Negative emotions toward the organization

It’s not uncommon to have those select employees who continuously make snide remarks about company leaders or co-workers. These negative feelings toward the organization clash with organizational goals and hurt the workplace environment.


Insubordinate challenges to authority

Bad attitude employees might refuse to perform a task just in order to prove a point. That is disrespectful, unprofessional and sure isn’t helping your organization!


Overly argumentative

Employees who aggravate and pick fights in the workplace create an uncomfortable and distrusting team setting. These employees don’t make efforts to compromise or settle disagreements with co-workers.


Lazy, unmotivated

These are the employees who aren’t engaged in their work and spend most of their time goofing off and causing distractions. An infographic created from the National Business Research Institute shared that disengaged employees spend their time sleeping, playing games, using social media and socializing.


Do you remember Grumpy, one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs? He was a master at these four bad attitudes. He was negative, stubborn and made a fuss about everything. But by the end of the fairytale, Grumpy changed. Despite his initial bad attitude, he is the one who took charge and saved Snow White from the evil queen.

So before you dismiss the “Grumpys” in your office, ask if it’s worth it to try and manage difficult employees. Finding ways to effectively manage employees with bad attitudes can save your organization the expense of unnecessary hiring costs. Did you know the average cost to replace an employee is 150 percent of the employee’s annual compensation! And those costs can reach up to 250 percent when replacing managerial or sales employees.


Solution: Find the Source of the Bad Attitude

Finding the source of the difficult employee’s bad attitude can help you coach and manage the employee’s behavior without making him or her more upset. Let’s face it, we all have grumpy days, but a prolonged bad attitude usually means there is something else going on.

Employee assessments that test behavior and personality traits can be very helpful for managers. Full-person assessments, like the ProfileXT®, let managers know how employees respond to hardships and interact with their peers. With that information, managers can know how to best develop and coach the employee through a difficult time.

When evaluating the situation, and preparing to talk with the difficult employee, ask yourself:

  • How does the employee interact with co-workers?
  • Has the employee’s bad attitude been a recent change?
  • Has the employee’s workload changed?
  • Could something have happened in the individual’s life that could have triggered the bad attitude?

Then, confront the difficult employee privately and respectfully. Let the employee know how his or her behavior is negatively impacting the team and productivity. Keeping the questions above in mind, offer support, but be firm and let them know that their job is on the line if the bad attitude persists. The most important thing is to keep the conversation professional and constructive!