How to Destroy the Curse of Negativity in Your Workplace

Category: Management/Leadership
Author Name: Jim McKay
Posted: 06-01-2018 07:06 AM
Views: 1870
Synopsis: Negativity can destroy a workplace.  Every manager faces it and must have tools in their arsenal to combat it.  Learn how to control negativity and turn your workplace into a positive and productive place with healthy and happy employees.

As managers, we wear many hats. We’re teachers. We’re motivators. But above all, we’re leaders. It’s our job to ensure that our team is operating to the best of its ability.


Ideally, our team members feel positive about their colleagues, their contributions to the company, and the company itself. That said, we don’t live in a perfect world. Some team members may simply not like each other or team members may strongly oppose the direction of the company. They may even be unhappy with you.


This type of negativity, if left untreated, can cause major trauma to your organization. Managers need to act quickly to address workplace negativity and institute appropriate changes—perhaps dramatic changes—in order to move in a more positive direction.


While the circumstances of your particular situation will vary, here are some general tips on how you can address negativity within your workplace.


Embrace Communication. Most workplace conflict comes from the lack of or poor communication. Communication issues may emerge from employee-to-employee interactions or from manager-to-employee interactions. When this happens, employees can become frustrated, causing them to complain about the task at hand and foster negativity within your team.


It is your job as a manager to ensure that your team is on the same page. When presenting a new task for members of your time, outline the overall objectives, your expectations for each role, and how each team member will contribute to the overall project. Clearly articulate deadlines and occasionally ping your team members to monitor their progress and ensure that they understand their particular role. By embracing clear communication and being proactive about potential communication issues, you can reduce the chances that a communication error causes stress and negativity within your team.


If you aren’t able to proactively solve potential communications issues, it’s important to start a dialogue with the affected team members. Understand the original assumptions which led to the communication error, don’t assign blame, and determine a plan of action to correct the problem. Embracing radical candor and getting to the core of the problem will minimize the amount of damage created by the communication error. 


Highlight The Positives. It can be difficult to seek out the positive when you are constantly experiencing negativity. That said, it’s a critical exercise in order to detox the overarching sentiment within a negative workplace.


One of the best ways to do this is to honor individual team members on a job well done. You can do this on a weekly or biweekly basis. The team member doesn’t need to have done anything earth-shattering. It can be as small as an employee going the extra mile to assist a customer or another employee taking on additional tasks for the team. If you are having trouble finding positives, you may need to dig a little deeper. Rest assured that they are there.


By praising that employee (either through email or in person), you set a precedent. That precedent is that you, as a manager, make an emphasis on embracing the positive work that your employees are doing, even if it is “small” in your employees’ eyes.


This may not do everything to cure a negative workplace environment. However, it is an easy initial step that you can take to minimize some of the negativity within your office. 


Remove Constant Complainers. You may face a situation where one employee constantly complains about every little thing. While it’s impossible to ask employees to be positive all the time, a constant complainer can bring down other team members and demoralize your team.


Simply put, constant complainers are toxic to your team and your organization. If an employee isn’t able to eliminate the negativity and constant complaining, you may have to let him or her go. The decision is difficult in and of itself, but becomes even more difficult if the employee is a star on your team. You’ll ultimately have to decide for yourself, but it’s often the case that, in the long run, cutting off this bad apple will be a positive mood in the long run. 


Take Action


As a manager, you simply cannot ignore a negative workplace. You need to take action. Luckily, you have the power to eliminate some of this negativity by prioritizing communication, embracing positivity, and removing constant complainers. By doing this, you increase the odds that your workplace becomes a more positive environment.

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