According to my beliefs the negative member is the most difficult to handle. According to Jacobs, Masson and Harvill the negative client is one who has a tendency to find problems with everything. A negative client is capable of transforming a group session into a gripe session. (Jacobs, Masson and Harvill, 2006) A negative client causes a negative influence on the group as a whole and is capable of instigating a feeling of discontent among other group members. Presence of one or more negative client in a group may lead to lowering of the groups morale.
How would I handle a negative client in a group? My reactions against unreasonable demands of a negative client would probably be instinctive. I would resort to direct confrontation with the negative client, although this would not be the ideal course of action since Jacobs, Masson and Harvill have recommended that group leaders should refrain from direct confrontation because it only leads to time consuming arguments between the leader and a negative client. How would Jacobs, Masson and Harvill have handled a negative client?
Jacobs, Masson and Harvill suggest three alternative courses of action which will enable the leader to effectively handle a negative client. The first course of action is to talk to the negative client outside the group and try determining the reason for his unacceptable behavior. In most cases negative clients suffer from lack of attention and the problem can be solved if they are offered an important role. The second option as suggested by Jacobs, Masson and Harvill involves identifying the positive members of the group (ie those members who are contented with the group).
By talking to the positive members in a group a leader can motivate those members who have been influenced by the negative client. The third option calls for de motivating and isolating a negative client. This goal can be achieved if the group leader avoids making an eye contact with the negative client while addressing the group as a whole. Incase neither of the 3 courses of action are successful in improving the negative client, Jacobs, Masson and Harvill suggest that asking the negative client to leave is only option that the leader is left with. If there are any members in my group who have taken up the role of a negative client?
What effect has it had on the group? I have encountered negative clients in my group; such group members cause a lot of problem. They create a wide spread feeling of discontent among the group which leads to fragmentation of the group. The group gets subdivided into two sections one of which harbors feeling of negativity and discontent and the other section comprises of positive members who are satisfied with the current state of affairs. Fragmentation of a group results in loss of productivity. Therefore it is important to prevent the group member from acquiring negative tendencies.
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