Using AI To Help You Handle A Tough Team Member Situation

leadership Jun 08, 2023

Using AI To Help You Handle A Tough Team Member Situation
Using AI as your THOUGHT PARTNER (new official job title)

Here is just one example of how a leader may use AI, or something like ChatGPT 4 Plus, as their THOUGHT ASSISTANT (our official job title for ChaptGPT at Cultivate Wins). 

Here is a DIRECT LINK to the video around the contents of this blog/post… 


As mentioned in the video, the goal here is to help you, as the leader, to come up with an approach that is going to be both compassionate and effective. And the reality is that sometimes when we are in these situations we just FEEL lost and/or stuck for ways to approach a situation or person. And the following (along with the video that goes a little deeper into what is being shared here) is just one example of how we could be using AI to help us to either come up with a few compassionate and effective approaches, or at least help us to begin to see a few approaches that we simply may not have considered while we were sitting in this frustrated or lost state of mind. 

We truly hope that this example is helpful, and that it may just help to get your creative juices flowing as to how you may be able to use AI both personally and professionally when there are important conversations that you need to have. 

PLEASE NOTE: The following example dialog I am having here with ChatGPT is based around the fact that this team lead and owner has not already decided to “fire” or “let go” of this specific team member. The team lead is still looking for suggestions on how to be more effective in their approach, and how they may approach this in a way that is compassionate and effective.

And here is a copy of the full ChatGPT dialog that is discussed within this video: 


I would like to share a scenario with you, and ask that you provide me potential approaches that a leader may have within the scenario. I will then ask you to share some potential approaches to this scenario if that approach was taken by a specific personality or well known cultural figure. 

So here is the scenario: You have a team member within your organization and company that tends to see and approach things from a very negative point of view. Which is not the team or organizational culture that we are trying to create and promote. The bigger problem is that this team member who tends to approach thing from a negative point of view also tends to share these negative points of views with other team members and during team meetings. 

Much of the team seem to be intimidated by her, and feel very negative and uncomfortable around her. And this is having a negative impact on our company, organizational and team culture. 

Could I ask you to provide me with some suggestion on how to approach this negative team member?

ChatGPT (Using ChatGPT 4 Plus)

Certainly, handling such a situation requires a careful and balanced approach. Here are a few strategies a leader might consider:

  1. Direct Conversation: Meet with the individual privately and honestly discuss the issue. This is not about blaming or accusing, but rather about expressing concern for how their negativity affects the team dynamics. Use specific examples and ask for their perspective as well.
  2. Feedback and Coaching: Provide constructive feedback on how their negativity is impacting the team and overall company culture. Offer coaching to help them develop a more positive outlook, or suggest resources such as books, training programs, or a mentor within the company that might help them improve their attitude.
  3. Set Clear Expectations: Articulate what is expected in terms of behavior and attitude. This might be expressed through the company's code of conduct, values, or performance reviews. Be clear that while everyone is entitled to their viewpoints, creating a negative atmosphere is not conducive to a productive work environment.
  4. Conflict Resolution: If this person's negativity is leading to conflicts within the team, consider bringing in a neutral third party to facilitate a conversation. This could be an HR representative or an external mediator.
  5. Positive Reinforcement: When you notice this individual engaging in positive behaviors or displaying a more positive attitude, be sure to recognize and reinforce this. This can help to motivate them to continue improving their outlook.
  6. Work Environment Adjustments: If applicable and appropriate, consider making adjustments to the person's work environment or role that may alleviate some of the negativity. For instance, if they are constantly complaining about a certain task or coworker, see if there is a way to mitigate this issue.
  7. Performance Management: If the above strategies don't lead to improvement, and the individual's negativity continues to be a serious detriment to the team, it may be necessary to implement performance management processes, which could include formal warnings, performance improvement plans, or in the most severe cases, termination.

Remember, the goal is not to change this person's personality or beliefs, but rather to address how their behavior affects the team and the work environment. The leader should approach this situation with empathy, patience, and understanding, recognizing that change takes time.


How might I approach this if I were Tony Robbins?

ChatGPT (Using ChatGPT 4 Plus)

Tony Robbins, known for his motivational speaking and self-help programs, would likely approach the situation in a way that embodies his principles of personal development and positive change. Here are a few ways Robbins might handle this:

  1. Personal Empowerment: Robbins believes in the power of personal transformation. He might start by having a one-on-one conversation with the team member, discussing their negativity not as a problem, but as a potential area for growth. He would encourage them to explore the root cause of their negative outlook, fostering self-awareness.
  2. Positive Reframing: As an advocate for Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Robbins might help the individual reframe their negative thoughts. NLP suggests that changing how we talk about our experiences can alter how we perceive them. Robbins might guide the team member to replace negative language with positive or neutral words, potentially changing their perspective.
  3. Motivational Techniques: Robbins could employ motivational strategies to inspire a shift in behavior. He might share stories of people who overcame similar challenges, or introduce exercises designed to boost positivity, such as gratitude journaling or mindfulness techniques.
  4. Goal Setting: Robbins is known for his emphasis on setting and achieving personal goals. He might help the team member identify positive objectives to strive for in their professional behavior and provide support as they work towards those goals.
  5. Influence and Persuasion: Robbins has a strong understanding of human needs and how they drive behavior. He might use this knowledge to understand what needs the team member is trying to fulfill with their negativity, and offer more constructive strategies for meeting those needs.
  6. Peer Influence: Robbins might also encourage a culture where positive behavior from others inspires the individual to change. He'd recognize and reward positivity in the team, making it clear that this is the desired norm.

Remember, Tony Robbins' approach is about fostering personal growth and self-improvement, rather than punitive measures. It's about helping the individual understand and alter their behavior, not about forcing them to change.




How might I approach this if I were John C. Maxwell?

ChatGPT (Using ChatGPT 4 Plus)

John C. Maxwell, a leadership expert and bestselling author, has a wealth of advice on managing teams and developing leaders. Here's how he might approach this scenario:

  1. Lead by Example: Maxwell often emphasizes the importance of leaders setting a good example. He would likely ensure that his own behavior exemplifies the positive, constructive attitude he expects from his team.
  2. Personalized Leadership: Maxwell's philosophy of leadership involves understanding and valuing each individual on a team. He would likely have a private conversation with the team member to understand their perspective, working to build a relationship of trust and respect.
  3. Empowerment: Maxwell believes in empowering others to reach their full potential. He might work with the team member to identify their strengths and how they can use these in a positive way. He would emphasize the impact of their attitude on the team and encourage them to leverage their influence constructively.
  4. Communication and Feedback: Maxwell places great emphasis on clear, honest communication. He would probably offer direct but compassionate feedback to the team member, highlighting specific instances where their negativity has been counterproductive, while also pointing out moments where they've been a positive force.
  5. Coaching and Mentoring: As a coach and mentor himself, Maxwell might recommend a coaching or mentoring program to help this team member develop a more positive outlook. He would emphasize the importance of growth and learning in their professional journey.
  6. Influence: One of Maxwell's core beliefs is that "leadership is influence." He might encourage the team member to use their influence in a positive way, to inspire and motivate their colleagues rather than bringing them down.
  7. Creating a Positive Environment: Maxwell might also work on reinforcing a positive work culture by recognizing and rewarding positive attitudes and results, reinforcing the kind of behavior that creates a successful team.

Remember, Maxwell's approach to leadership is based on respect, influence, and personal growth. His goal would be to help the team member understand their potential for leadership and their ability to contribute positively to the team.




How might I approach this if I were Thich Nhat Hanh?

ChatGPT (Using ChatGPT 4 Plus)

Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Zen Buddhist monk, would likely approach the situation with a high level of mindfulness, compassion, and deep listening. Here's how he might handle the scenario:

  1. Mindfulness: Hanh would likely encourage the team member to practice mindfulness, or being fully present and engaged in the current moment. This could help them become more aware of their negative thought patterns and how they impact those around them.
  2. Compassionate Conversation: Following his principles of "loving speech and deep listening," Hanh might have a compassionate, non-judgmental conversation with the team member, allowing them to express their feelings and concerns. This could help the individual feel heard and understood, potentially opening the door to more positive interactions.
  3. Understanding and Empathy: Hanh believes that understanding is the foundation of love and empathy. He might encourage the individual to practice understanding and empathy towards their colleagues, which could help mitigate negativity.
  4. Teaching on Interbeing: Hanh might share his teachings on "interbeing" — the idea that we are all interconnected and our actions affect others. He would gently remind the team member that their negativity does not exist in isolation but affects the entire team.
  5. Mindful Breathing: As a practical technique, Hanh might suggest mindful breathing exercises to the team member. This practice can help soothe negative emotions and bring about a more peaceful state of mind.
  6. Encouraging Positivity: Hanh would likely encourage the individual to cultivate positivity by noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of their work and their colleagues. This could help shift their focus away from the negative.
  7. Non-violent Communication: Hanh is a strong proponent of non-violent communication. He would encourage the team member to express their thoughts and feelings in a way that is respectful and considerate of others.

Remember, Thich Nhat Hanh's approach is rooted in compassion, understanding, and mindfulness. His goal would be to help the team member become more aware of their behavior and its impact, and to cultivate a more positive, mindful approach to their interactions.




How might I approach this if I were Jesus?

ChatGPT (Using ChatGPT 4 Plus)

As a religious figure, Jesus is known for his teachings on love, forgiveness, and understanding. Here's how he might approach this situation based on the principles reflected in the Christian New Testament:

  1. Compassionate Understanding: Jesus often showed understanding towards those who were struggling or viewed as difficult by others. He might approach the team member with a compassionate desire to understand their perspective and the root cause of their negativity.
  2. Teaching through Parables: Jesus often used parables to convey messages. He might share a relevant story or parable with the team member to help them see the impact of their negativity on others and the potential for change.
  3. Forgiveness: Jesus taught the importance of forgiveness. He might encourage the team member to forgive any perceived wrongs that may be fueling their negativity. This could help them let go of past hurts and adopt a more positive outlook.
  4. Love Your Neighbor: One of Jesus's most well-known teachings is to "love your neighbor as yourself." He might remind the team member of this principle, encouraging them to treat their colleagues with kindness and respect.
  5. Non-Judgment: Jesus cautioned against judging others. He would likely discourage the team from judging the individual based solely on their negative outlook, instead encouraging understanding and empathy.
  6. Servant Leadership: Jesus modeled leadership through service, often putting the needs of others before his own. He might encourage the team member to consider how they can serve their colleagues and contribute positively to the team.
  7. Encouragement and Hope: Jesus often provided hope and encouragement to those who were struggling. He might offer words of encouragement to the team member, affirming their potential for change and their value to the team.

Remember, Jesus's approach is based on love, understanding, and forgiveness. His goal would be to help the team member understand the impact of their behavior and encourage them to adopt a more positive, loving attitude towards their colleagues.



How might I approach this if I were Simon Sinek?

ChatGPT (Using ChatGPT 4 Plus)

Simon Sinek, known for his concepts like "Start with Why" and "The Circle of Safety," focuses on inspirational leadership and creating environments where people feel safe and inspired to do their best work. Here's how he might approach this situation:

  1. Start with Why: Sinek might first seek to understand the team member's "Why" — their beliefs, values, and motivations that drive their behavior. Understanding this could help address the root causes of their negativity.
  2. Empathetic Conversation: Sinek believes in leading with empathy. He would likely have a candid, empathetic conversation with the team member about how their negativity affects the team and the organization.
  3. The Circle of Safety: According to Sinek, leaders should create a "Circle of Safety" that protects the team from external threats and internal discord. He would work to foster an environment where the team member feels safe to express their concerns and work on their negative attitude without fear of retribution.
  4. Inspire Change: Sinek emphasizes that leaders should inspire, not dictate. He would aim to inspire the team member to adopt a more positive approach, showing them how it contributes to the team's success and aligns with their own "Why."
  5. The Infinite Mindset: Sinek's concept of the "infinite mindset" is about embracing change, seeking improvement, and playing for the long-term. He might encourage the team member to see their situation from this perspective, seeing their attitude not as a fixed trait, but something that can be improved over time for the betterment of themselves and the team.
  6. Lead by Example: Sinek might ensure that he and other leaders in the organization are setting a positive example in terms of attitude and behavior, showing the team member the kind of behavior that's valued and encouraged.

Remember, Simon Sinek's approach is all about understanding, inspiration, and creating a safe and positive environment. His goal would be to inspire the team member to understand the impact of their negativity and to see the benefits of a more positive attitude.


How might I approach this if I were the perfect combination of Tony Robbins, John C. Maxwell, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jesus and Simon Sinek? Or what do these thought leaders and inspirational teachers have in common that might help me to create an approach that would include some of the core concepts and principles that they share?

ChatGPT (Using ChatGPT 4 Plus)

Combining the philosophies and approaches of Tony Robbins, John C. Maxwell, Thich Nhat Hanh, Jesus, and Simon Sinek, you could create a comprehensive and compassionate approach to addressing the issue of the negative team member. Here are some common themes and shared principles:

  1. Compassionate and Empathetic Listening: All of these leaders emphasize the importance of understanding and empathizing with others. You should approach the team member with kindness, seeking to understand their perspective and the root cause of their negativity.
  2. Direct Communication: Honest and direct communication is key. Express your concerns clearly and compassionately, using specific examples of how their negativity impacts the team.
  3. Inspiration and Motivation: Inspire the team member to change by helping them see the benefits of a more positive attitude. This could involve sharing success stories, setting positive goals, or helping them discover their personal "Why".
  4. Empowerment: Encourage the individual to take ownership of their attitude and behavior, providing support and resources to help them make positive changes.
  5. Positive Reinforcement: Recognize and reward positive behavior, both from this individual and from the team as a whole. This can help to create a more positive atmosphere and set a standard for what kind of behavior is expected.
  6. Mindfulness and Self-Awareness: Encourage the team member to practice mindfulness, helping them become more aware of their negative thought patterns and how they affect those around them.
  7. Modeling Behavior: Lead by example, demonstrating the positive, respectful behavior you expect from your team.
  8. Creating a Safe and Positive Environment: Foster a culture where people feel safe to express their concerns and work on their attitudes. This includes making it clear that negativity and disrespect will not be tolerated, but also ensuring that people feel supported in their efforts to improve.
  9. Emphasis on Growth and Learning: Frame the situation as an opportunity for personal and professional growth. Offer resources and support to help the team member improve their attitude and interpersonal skills.

Remember, the goal is not to force the person to change their personality or beliefs, but rather to help them understand how their behavior affects the team and to encourage a more positive, respectful approach. This process will likely take time and patience, but by combining these approaches, you can create a comprehensive strategy that respects the individual while prioritizing the health and success of the team.




This was all so very helpful. Thank you very much. 

My goal would be to review all of these, and decide exactly how I may want to approach our team member. My goal is to approach this with compassion, all while being truly effective in improving the situation for our team as a whole, this team member and ourselves as leaders and owners of the organization. Again, thank you very much for the very important role you play within our organization as our "THOUGHT PARTNER" (this is your official job title within our organization). Thank you.

ChatGPT (Using ChatGPT 4 Plus)

You're very welcome! I'm glad to hear that you found the information helpful. As your "Thought Partner," it's my goal to provide you with comprehensive and balanced insights to support your decision-making process. Remember, every situation and individual is unique, so it's essential to tailor your approach to the specific context and the person involved.

You're on the right path by prioritizing compassion and effectiveness. These are key elements of successful leadership and conflict resolution. I'm confident that with careful consideration and a thoughtful approach, you'll be able to improve the situation for your team member and your team as a whole.

If you have any more questions or need further assistance in the future, don't hesitate to reach out. Best of luck with your conversations and efforts to enhance your team's culture!


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