When You Really Want to Say “Shut up, Already!”


A colleague of mine manages a team of several people that works to promote a membership organization. One of the team members is not too happy, and criticizes the organization in the team meetings. In addition, he has refused requests to represent the organization publicly saying his unhappiness will creep through in his speeches and talks. His negativity affects the team, and undermines the members’ promotional goals. As team leader, what should my colleague do?

1. Have a private conversation with Mr. Unhappy. Let him vent a bit. Who knows? He might be on to something that can be fixed or improved.

2. Let him know that his negative comments at meetings are affecting the team. He’s entitled to his views, but can choose not to share them at the meetings.

3. Ask him if working with this team, given it’s promotional objectives, is really how he wants to spend his time. Must be frustrating, after all…certainly for the team, but probably for him, too.

Having a 3-part message ready to deliver for this conversation will help my colleague prepare…

How about “(1) When you speak negatively and at length in meetings about your experiences, such as XXXXX and YYYYY, (2) it frustrates me, (3) because it demoralizes the team and delays us from working towards our goals.”

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