The Disgruntled Employee

That being said, what do you do with a disgruntled employee? There' s so much damage a person like this can do to team morale, in such a short time, that you really have to work hard to make sure you quell this kind of thing very quickly. It ' s important to take some time with this employee—to get to know him or her—and see if you can figure out what the issues are. Perhaps you can simply encourage this person and get them to see that you ' re behind them and that they' re an integral part of the team. Or you might simply have a rogue on your hands whom you need to punish or reassign. In any case, you and the employee should talk it through, getting to the heart of the matter, and then you as the PM do something about the situation.

Eisgruntled employees can also wreak havoc on team members simply by floating around from cubicle to cubicle (cube hopping), bad-mouthing the project, you, and the management above you—just trying as hard as they can to make sure others know how terrible the project is. You' ve got to nip this in the bud as soon as possible! Such negativism is not good. However, the other side of the coin is that you need to confront the employee with the statements and try to find out why he made them. Perhaps he has a great reason for saying what he' s saying, and he' s frustrated that neither you nor anyone else in management wants to listen to him. Maybe he has some great ideas and might wind up saving you from a lot of embarrassment, if the project were to go forward as is. In any case, you have to get the bad- mouthing stopped before it completely destroys team morale.

might wind up saving you from a lot of embarrassment, if the project were to go forward as is. In any case, you have to get the bad- mouthing stopped before it completely destroys team morale.

Real World Scenario: Maybe It's Not the Team Member—It's You!

Real World Scenario: Maybe It's Not the Team Member—It's You!

I once had an employee who was already in his position when I got my job as manager over the team. At first, it was obvious there was an attitude problem with this employee. I couldn 't understand why. I thought I was being nice to him —we talked in team meetings and I occasionally chatted with him in his cubicle. But there was that constant, nagging, bad attitude. He was just grouchy, irritable, and hard to be around.

One day, it became apparent what was going on. He said to me, "If I had applied for the job after you got here, you wouldn ' t have hired me!" I must' ve been coming across as arrogant, snobbish, or in some way standoffish to him, and he took it as a slight on his technical skills. I had to modify the way that I worked with him; I tried to show him that I valued his technical prowess (he' s very good at what he does) and that he played a valuable role on the team. Today, he ' s one of our better employees and takes on a lot of extra responsibility. He' s a wonderful team member! But because my disposition toward him was wrong, he was able to turn on a bad attitude, and everyone—he, his teammates, and I—paid for it!

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