Tips on managing negative behaviour

“There is no such thing as a self-made man. You will reach your goals only with the help of others.”
George Shinn

Team work is a critical factor in the successful operation of any type of business. It is important that everyone involved in a task or project understand the vision and the part they have to play in achieving the required goals. Successful completion of a task can be severely hindered by the destructive actions of an individual not in tune with the team dynamic. Dealing with negative people can be a difficult element of a manager’s role and retaining the respect and confidence of the team can hinge on how well such an individual is managed.

I’m a Celebrity started again this week, and I find the first 7-10 days tend to be the most entertaining as you see the group of strangers come together for the first time and we watch how they eventually gel into a team all working to the same end; to “survive” the jungle experience. The latter half of the competition turns into an individual v individual contest and can be a more tepid affair. However in the first week you see the posturing and struggle by the various people to establish themselves within the group.

This year they have split the boys and the girls into two groups for the first few days, and the girls has been the more interesting of the two. Gillian McKeith has generated the most interest with outrage being expressed over her behaviour across forums, twitter and the internet at large. She has already had to attempt 3 bushtucker trials and will surely face many more before she leaves the show.

McKeith gave a taste of what was to come when she first met her fellow contestants with her flirting with the men and then blanking American model Kayla when she entered the room, who she obviously regarded as a threat to her position in the group.

Her behaviour following that indicated that she had no intention of being a team player. She has entered a competition which involves being surrounded by all manner of creepy crawlies and having many fears and phobias exposed and tested. The majority of people have  phobias and the contestants in this show tend to face them and deal with them as best they can. Right at the start of the show Gillian announced that she had a phobia of spiders and most other creepy crawlies and was a vegan and wouldn’t be eating any of the insects etc that might be put in front of her. Bearing in mind the shrieks and screams that greeted every small creature that caught her eye it is incredible that she signed up to do the show. If she didn’t know what the show entailed before agreeing to do it she is either extremely stupid or needs to sack her agent.

Naturally she was the overwhelming choice of the viewers to carry out the trials for the women. The second trial she did involved being put in a box underground surrounded by rats in pitch blackness while she tried to unlock padlocks in order to escape. Strangely she didn’t seem too concerned about the rats, the other creepy crawlies and the dark until she realised that the other pseron from the boys team had escaped and won the task. At this point she became “hysterical” and eventually fainted and needed oxygen to help her calm down. As she was being carried out of the box and laid down to receive treatment, it was surprising to see her straighten her top to protect her modesty. A neat trick for someone who has apparently fainted.

Of course it may have all been genuine, or be a result of clever editing, but it resulted in the girls team losing the task and going hungry that night. The next day she had another trial which involved eating 5 different items. As a Vegan she refused to eat the bugs that were put in front of her, but did eat the cheesefruit flan – would the pastry have been made using dairy products? The last item was an egg, which she claimed to be allergic to so couldn’t eat. Are Vegans allowed to eat eggs?

There are a variety of trials which some contestants are excused from on health grounds, so it was a bit surprising that Gillian wasn’t excused from a trial which would involve her eating things which would go angainst her Vegan beliefs. Surely this isn’t fair on her team?

The boys team already see her as a laughing stock and they regard her being involved in the trials as victory being a shoe in for the boys team. She doesn’t appear to be too concerned about the impact she is having on the girls team and is not giving any indication that she is prepared to modify her behaviour to try and help her team. If she does have all these phobias it might have been a good idea to keep a low profile so that she didn’t attract attention to herself and put the welfare of her team at risk. Instead she has shrieked at every opportunity thus attracting the attention she clearly appears to want.

Her behaviour has been extremely childlike and Britt Ekland has adopted the adult role with her and tried to manage her behaviour by helping her when she sees the bugs around her. This is only likely to make matters worse, as it will encourage McKeith to continue with this behaviour as it is having the desired effect and making her the centre of attention. So how can the girls deal with this negative behaviour?

1) They need to sit her down and give her feedback on the impact her negative behaviour is having. It may well be that she has no concept of how she is affecting the rest of the group.

2) Challenge her to identify positive aspects of the situation she finds herself in. If she can’t identify anything that she is happy with (which can often be the case in a normal situation), don’t let her off the hook, keep asking her the question and get her to focus on potential positive. Britt Ekland has already tried this technique with McKeith with some success.

3) Ask her to describe how the rest of the group are feeling about the situation and her behaviour. If she can grasp what effect she is having on the rest of the group this might provide the incentive to start modifying her behaviour and outlook. There are very few individuals who don’t want to be accepted and to feel part of a group.

4) Keep the discussion about her behaviour rather than her as an individual. People can modify their behaviour but not themselves. This helps take the emotion out of the situation and makes it easier to discuss the situation in an objective and neutral manner for everyone.

5) Having had the above discussions they should ignore any future childlike behaviour and only pay her attention when she is producing “acceptable” behaviour. If she is not getting the attention she wants when she is being negative she will look for other ways to get attention. When she sees she receives approval for positive behaviour she will start to produce more of this type of behaviour.

In a business situation if the behaviour is still not modified, the next steps would be likely to involve the disciplinary procedure with removal of the individual from the team the ultimate solution.

It will be interesting to see how it pans out in the jungle.

“Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it.”

Bill Bradley

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One Response to Tips on managing negative behaviour

  1. admin says:

    I see the girls camp joined the boys yesterday and Gillian immediately started making negative comments about Shaun adding water to the food that was cooking, which started to annoy him.
    Linford took Gillian outside the camp and explained to her the impact her behaviour was having. As anticipated she was horrified and concerned as she had no concept of the reaction she was generating.
    You then saw her go to Shaun and apologise for what she had said. It will be interesting to see how and if her bahaviour changes if the rest of the group takes Linford’s lead in pointing out how her behaviour is impacting onto the rest of the group.

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