Crabby Employees? It’s the Crab Effect

crab-298346_1920Have you ever seen a bunch of live crabs put into a bowl? They crawl on top of each other to get out, and the crab on top is pulled down by the others. Ultimately, there is so much fighting for the top position that the crabs just wear themselves out. What a crabby bunch. (Pun intended)

So what do you do when you have your own bunch of crabby employees?

Whatever you do, don’t be a crab back at them – it’s the equivalent of that crab bowl, with everyone stepping on everyone else. In other words, quit complaining! This is the moment when you need to be the leader and help elevate everyone’s mood and energy level.

Here are a few suggestions:

Bring Legos to a Staff Meeting: One reason that people get crabby is because they need a distraction. Instead of your ordinary Monday morning staff meeting, do something different to help your employees think outside the bowl. (Click HERE to read my blog on this subject.)

Encourage Volunteering: There have been many studies that prove getting out of the office improves productivity, creativity and morale. I have a client who has a volunteer policy: A different employee per month chooses their favorite charity and on the last Friday of the month the whole team goes to volunteer.

Re-Stating the End Goal: Many candidates talk about how unhappy they are at work; one common reason is because they have lost sight of the company goal and how they fit into that picture. Why are we doing what we are doing? What is my purpose here in this company? How are my efforts contributing to the big picture? The more articulate you as the leader can be about this, the more satisfied your staff will be.

Say Thank You: Thank you! I am continually surprised by how effective a simple “thank you” is. I received communication from several employees from my restaurant this weekend (we are planning a reunion!), and many of them have told me how my thanking them before they left every day had a huge impact on them as employees. Several have adopted that habit as leaders. (Click HERE to read my blog on this subject.)

One final tip: Remember that organizational attitude flows from the top down. If your crabby employees complain all the time, ask yourself if you are complaining all the time. If so, try these tips for yourself!