No matter what your own personal employment history is, you’ve probably run across at least one or two people that never seemed to be happy no matter what the working conditions were. Even in times when things seemed to be improving, their attitudes didn’t. Manager’s will do what they can to make an employee happy but seem to have no success. Unfortunately, there are some employees who are never happy, no matter what.
It’s obvious that good managers do what they can to make sure that working conditions are tolerable and do what they can to improve upon them. It’s also obvious that certain things are beyond a manager’s control. What may not always be so obvious is the cause of the employee’s dissatisfaction or the steps that may be taken to help the situation. This may take some time for management to accurately assess.
The big question - Why?
You begin to wonder why a dissatisfied employee would continue to work at a job where they are unhappy. There are many reasons for that as well. One may be a feeling of futility. The employee may have such a negative attitude that they feel that no matter where they go or what company they work for, the situation will probably be just as bad, if not worse. Or perhaps the negative attitude is actually spilling over from their personal or home life into their work life. In most cases, a change in career or employer will not positively change the conditions at home.
The need for action
If the unhappy employee’s negative attitude is having a negative impact on their colleagues, it is time for management to take some form of action. No one individual has the right to make others miserable on a daily basis. This creates a negative work environment for all those that come into contact with that employee, quite frankly, it’s unfair to the rest of the employees. Inaction on the part of management may even lead to other employees losing respect for the employer.
The best way to assess the situation is to ask the employee in private what is bothering them. The employee may actually bring to the manager’s attention certain organisational problems they may not be aware of. However, if the employee does not provide adequate reasons for their dissatisfaction, there may be little a manager can do to help.
Perhaps, though, the employee did offer some valuable information into problems that can be resolved and management took every possible step they could in order to resolve them. Yet the unhappy employee still remains unhappy and is still creating a difficult work environment for his or her colleagues. It is once again time for management to intervene.
More action needed
Now it may become apparent that there is something more serious at hand. Perhaps the employee in question has some personal issues such as depression or other emotional issues needing to be addressed. The job of management is not to play the role of a psychologist (although it may be an advantage to have some knowledge in the area of psychology) it is usually beyond the scope of their definition and competency. The only thing management could do in those circumstances is make recommendations to the employee to take some sort of corrective action regarding their behaviour.
The first step in this scenario is for the manager to make the employee aware of how their negative attitude and negative behaviour adversely affects their colleagues and how it makes them feel. Then the manager needs to make the employee understand that they need to modify their behaviour and that there may be consequences for them, should they not modify their attitude or behaviour. The next step is up to the employee.
There may be times when it would appear as if the problems were resolved but the employee reverts back to that pattern of negative behaviour. Now management needs to assess as to whether this is going to be a continual problem or not. One of the functions of management is to systematically resolve problems in order to make progress. They can be any number of problems. Eliminating waste, improving upon efficiency, the list goes on. Personnel problems are among the many issues management will have to face. Sometimes they are the most difficult ones to address.
Quite often, the hardest thing most managers will have to do is terminate an employee. You’re basically talking about someone’s means of earning a living and providing for themselves and their family. However, once management has done everything they could in order to correct the problem and the employee still has a negative attitude that is negatively affecting his or her colleagues, termination is probably the only course of corrective action left to be taken. This is because, in some cases, an employee is unhappy no matter what. In fact, some employees are never happy.