How to Deal with Negativity at Work

It is certainly understandable that today’s employees would have some negative feelings about their jobs. For many years now companies have been trying to do more with less – downsizing their operations and asking the remaining employees to take on more responsibilities without offering more compensation.

But even though those negative feelings are understandable, they can still be damaging to the longer-term success of the business. Negativity can quickly spread from one person to an entire department – or even an entire company. Once those negative feelings set it, it can be very difficult to turn things around. Fortunately, there are some tried and true strategies managers and rank and file employees can use to turn negative feelings around and improve employee morale.

Understand the Roots of Negativity
If you have recently seen an upswing in negative comments and bad attitudes at work, it is important to address the reasons for the change. Chances are employees have not suddenly turned negative for no reason – there may be a valid concern behind all that negativity.

Dealing with the root causes of negativity is one of the surest ways to turn things around and get the business back on the right track. The problem could be as simple as a misunderstanding or a misinterpretation of a new company policy. Tackling these issues head on can improve morale and reduce negative reactions to future changes.

Do Not Take Negativity Personally
It is important to not become personally involved in the negative feelings and statements going through the workplace. It is easy to get sucked into those negative attitudes, but it is important to try to turn things around when you can.

Keep a kind attitude when listening to those negative statements, then try to turn those negative attitudes into positive ones. Try to think of something positive to say – and let that positivity counteract the negativity.

Quality Communication Skills
Proper communication skills are essential in the business world. Employees who have not been taught proper communication skills often react negatively, so one of the most effective ways to address the problem is by teaching other ways to communicate.

Negative statements are, after all, merely a form of communication. Teaching better communication skills is one of the most effective ways to improve morale and empower employees to make better decisions.

If you are a manager or supervisor, you can use your own communication skills by setting up a one-on-one meeting with the chronic complainers. Use your own experience to challenge those negative statements – and solicit ideas for making the workplace a better and more productive place.

Rewards and Recognition
Workers tend to become negative when they do not feel appreciated for their hard work. Employers can counteract that problem by setting up a recognition program for their workers. Recognizing employees for their achievements can go a long way in counteracting negativity in the workplace.

Starting communications on a positive note can go a long way as well. Start meetings on a positive note – perhaps by noting past progress or giving kudos for a job well done. Keeping a positive tone encourages attendees to do their best.

Turning a negative workplace around is not easy, but it is very important. Left unchecked, that negativity can quickly spread and cause long-lasting problems for the business. No matter what the cause of the negativity, addressing the problem head-on is often the best way to turn things around.