Nipping Negativity in the Bud

They are tough things to listen to: whining, complaining and negative feedback!

You have put a lot of time and energy into building a positive group or team. If you have some people who are pes­simistic or always complaining, their negative energy can spread throughout the group. This can be very frustrating as you strive to keep the group up and focus on the positive. Take care to nip negativity in the bud before it spreads.



When a pessimistic attitude is presented, be sure to hear what the person is saying, without the tone. They may have some good insight. Thank them for their perspective, consider what pieces might be helpful, and use what you can and/or write down their point of concern as something to examine later.

Talk Privately

If someone is complaining about being involved or having to do too much, ask to talk with him privately. Then, ask him how he thinks his time can best be spent to support the group effort. You may be able to shift some responsibilities to help him get on board.

Put Them in Charge

It is easy to say anything when you are not responsible. Giving people a taste of what it is like to be on the other side can give them a different perspective.

Lay It Out

Pull them aside and tell them how they are coming across to the group. They may not realize how they are being perceived.


If you’ve tried everything and nothing has worked, you may need to come to terms with the fact that you have a group member who enjoys complaining and is not in a place to change. In this case, you may need to confront her and tell her that if she can’t get on board and change her negative behavior, then she may need to reconsider her membership because it is affecting the groups’ dynamics. This can be hard to say, but you need to think about the wellness of the group and everyone in it.