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It Only Takes One Bad Apple

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There is an old idiom: It only takes one bad apple to spoil the bunch. It can be applied to many situations, and a new report uses the idea in business. "One bad apple," or one bad employee, can harm the atmosphere of an office. An employee with a negative attitude, such as someone who complains a lot or doesn't work hard, brings stress to his coworkers.

Unfortunately, negative behavior is much stronger than positive behavior. As a result, the negative employee affects the office more than several positive employees. In fact, one negative employee makes others feel negative, and then more and more employees become unhappy as time continues. Over time, the whole office is negative. The research was conducted by the University of Washington.

In order to fix the problem, companies must take care of negativity immediately. For example, the employee who is a bad apple should work alone so he doesn't have much contact with other people in the office. He shouldn't work on projects with other people. Of course, effective hiring is a better solution. If the manager or Human Resources Department can identify a negative person, then they shouldn't hire him. The report recommended training managers to see negativity, and also to give personality tests in the interview.

Preview some of the lesson material:

Title: Speculate and/or discuss the contents of today's article from its title: "It Only Takes One Bad Apple."

Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.

  1. "One bad apple," or one bad employee, can...
  2. As a result, the negative employee affects the office more...
  3. In order to fix the problem, companies must take...
  4. The report recommended training managers to see negativity, and...

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. Do you agree that "one bad apple spoils the bunch?" Why/not?
  2. Have you ever worked with a negative person before? If yes, give details.
  3. If your office were "toxic," would you consider quitting? Why/not?
  4. What other solutions do you think might work with a bad apple? Why?
  5. Do you think that a bad apple usually knows he creates a negative atmosphere? Why/not?

Google Search: Type "bad apple" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.

Download the lesson:



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