4 Ways to Stop Workplace Negativity In Its Tracks

  October 12, 2018

According to a study conducted by Harvard Business Review, 98% of employees have reported experiencing negativity in the workplace.* That means 2% of those surveyed simply must not be telling the truth. Honestly, who hasn’t experienced workplace negativity in some way or form?

I know what you’re thinking – “This doesn’t happen at my organization.” Unfortunately, numbers don’t lie. There’s some degree of negativity lurking in every office. And *not* addressing the negativity is pretty much the worst thing you can do.

Workplace negativity leads to…
>> Decreased morale*
>> Higher employee turnover*
>> Reduced productivity (due to time spent worrying)*
>> Increased office gossip¹
>> Frustration being taken out on customers*

It’s also an EXPENSIVE problem. According to Gallup, workplace negativity costs companies $3 billion annually in the US, alone.²

HOW WORKPLACE NEGATIVITY SHOWS UP:

Keep an eye out for these tell-tale signs.³

4 Ways to Stop Workplace Negativity In Its Tracks

1. Model ideal behavior.

Have you assessed how you behave at work? Are you performing any behaviors that might have a detrimental impact on how others feel? For example, when you witness negativity, do you join in or do you try to shift the conversation to be more positive? Being mindful of how you act is the best place to start when it comes to reducing negativity.⁴

2. Be pre-emptive.

If you’re in the hiring department of your company, you might be able to keep negative people from joining your organization. If you get the impression during the interview stage that the candidate may become a problem, take those red flags seriously.⁷

2. Take perpetrators aside and speak with them privately.

Coming down hard on someone for being negative might be how you want to react, but it’s not how you should react. Take the interrupter, gossiper, criticizer, pessimist, or insensitive-commenter aside to let them know privately the effects of their actions. Respectful conversations create positive change. (Note: Do not send a mass email asking your employees to be more positive. This will not work.)⁴

3. Celebrate successes together as a company.

A bad habit to fall into is talking to your employees *only* if or when there’s an issue. Taking time to celebrate successes will go a long way to boosting positivity and increasing morale company-wide.¹ Additionally, make sure to celebrate successes 1:1 when you witness a colleague, leader, or team member doing a good job.⁶

4. Increase transparency company-wide.

New company policies or changes in leadership should always be communicated to everyone. Implementing regular huddles or sending a monthly internal newsletter are two ways to get the word out. No one likes surprises and increasing transparency will build trust with your employees.⁵ Additionally, asking employees for feedback will help them feel heard and should be apart of your initiative.


If you or someone you know would like to talk more about how to manage workplace negativity and improve your company culture, please contact us and let me know. I can help.

Your Business Coach and Consultant,
Theresa Valade, CEO

*Paychex (Statistic at Top of Email), 2016.
¹USC.
²
AllBusiness.
³
BusinessInsider.
Forbes.
Villanova.
Monster.
Recruiter.

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