Can You Change a Negative Person?

You can’t change a negative person but you can help them modify their behaviour.

If you find your team meetings de-energised by someone who is constantly negative, it’s important to address it. Research shows that peak performance is delivered by a positive to negative ratio of 6:1 in meetings with average performance ratio of 3:1 in favour of the positive.

If you simply say ‘stop being so negative’ you’ll often fail because you are seen to be attacking their identity and a long standing way of handling the world.

Here are some effective approaches you can try:

  • Talk about the impact of their behaviour on others
  • The phrase “when you do x, it can be perceived as y” reduces defensiveness
  • Asking ‘how could we see that differently?’ can start to gently reframe their thinking
  • Be patient
  • Show empathy and respect for the person and their point
  • Ask yourself if you are triggering their behaviour
  • Focus on and reward their positive behaviours

Do you have any approaches you have found effective? And if you have any questions on this topic please get in touch.

These tips are taken from KineticFuture’s Positive & Energising Leadership Development Programme which is based on evidence from neuroscience, positive organisation practices and advanced communications skills. Please do call us if you’d like to find out more about it.

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