How to overcome negativity at work?

Updated: 11 months ago
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As cliché as it may sound, Negativity is a real thief of happiness which in the long run can translate into a compromised physical and mental health for an individual. Nobody enjoys being negative or having negative thoughts about a person or a place but many times people do fall victim to circumstances that may be in or out of their control.

Now, if the feelings of negativity stem from the workplace, then it is not good news for the company or its objectives. Being part of the top management in the company, if you have witnessed your employees speak bitterly about the workplace on multiple occasions or have observed that most of your workforce is not very enthusiastic to come to the office then you have a major problem in your hands. This negative employee morale may soon prove detrimental to the health of the company.

Negative thoughts are those pesky little monsters in the workplace that can slowly sap away the productive energy of the employees. This should not be allowed to happen as productivity is the fuel that drives both employee work satisfaction as well as the fulfillment of business objectives. It is imperative that these unwanted monsters be removed before they have the chance to infect the whole organization.

In this article, we will address the issue of negativity at work and how companies and employees can overcome it so that both can benefit.

Actions to be taken by the company

Respect your employees

Build trust and faith with employees. Having respect for your employees should start right from the day they are hired. Do not be of the idea that one has to earn his or her respect in time. If you have decided to take an individual on board with you, you must have also recognized what that individual brings to the table.  A company should remind itself of each employee’s value in the organization and always treat them with respect.

Organize regular employee meetings to discuss issues

If employees are frequently coming up with complaints and there exists a scent of toxicity in the office. Do not keep on ignoring it. Lend an ear to what the staff has to say and take action against the negativity at work. The best way to address the concerns of the employees is to conduct employee meetings at regular intervals, where everyone is given an equal opportunity to bring forth their issues or dissatisfaction that is hampering the work.

Give recognition for hard work and effort

It has been often observed that the root cause of negativity or ill thoughts towards one’s company stems from a lack of recognition for the hard work one puts in. If an employee is putting in efforts to deliver quality work, he or she must be given the due credit and recognition that they deserve. This will make them realize that the company appreciates their hard work and will motivate them to continue doing great work. Build an effective reward scheme and stay away from committing some recognition mistakes.

Observe the managers and their leadership techniques

In the majority of the cases, the high attrition rate or the reflection of a bad company image is due to the poor leadership style adopted by managers. To identify if that's the issue, the HR manager can put a system in place that evaluates all the managers. One way in which this can be achieved is by allowing employees to rate their respective managers on various parameters. Based on this rating or the answers given by the staff the necessary training and steps can then be taken.

Generate team spirit through various activities

Another great way in which companies can attempt to reduce the simmering negativity in their environment is through organizing company retreats and conducting some team-building exercises in the office. These have been shown to build trust and team spirit among employees. Further, it may serve well for the company if they pay attention to the 5 Cs essential for Team Building.

Actions to be taken as an employee

Refrain from engaging in negative talks or comments

Yes, it may seem tempting to participate in gossips and engage in negative talks as part of a group, but remember that such talks are not good for anyone. You may not have the intention to hurt anyone but sometimes mindless talks and insensitive comments can seriously hurt a colleague’s feelings. It’s best to steer away from such talks and if you join in, try to divert the discussion in a good direction.

Voice your issues and suggestions

Generally, people who are actually involved in a particular task have the best idea of how to efficiently carry out the work. If you have any good ideas and suggestions that you think will reduce negativity and improve productivity communicate it to your manager or the HR manager. Similarly, also communicate the issues that are bothering you. Things will not change by themselves if no one speaks up about the negative things existing at work.

Engage in Positive self-talk

Sometimes the main reason that leads to a feeling of negativity is one’s own indulgence in negative thoughts. If there really are some external issues then address them and take action to resolve them. However, if the main source of negativity is because of seeing oneself as a failure and is due to lack of motivation, then you should engage in positive self-talk. There is no way one can just shut the door to negative feelings, but the key here is to recognize that you are having such thoughts and quickly move on to something motivating and positive to feel better.

Further, if you are feeling unmotivated and bored by doing the same type of work for a long period now, you may want to discuss it with your seniors. This may lead your manager to assign you some new projects that generate interest.

Stick to office decorum

By following the office decorum, one can keep away from creating negativity, being part of negativity, or causing any kind of unpleasantness to others. Office decorum varies from company to company, but some are universal. Following the dress code, speaking in a polite manner, and reducing personal call frequency are a few examples of maintaining office decorum or business etiquette.

The aforementioned points, when kept in mind and followed by both the company and its employees, will help organizations overcome negativity at work and also prevent the emergence of negative work culture.  This will in turn promote peace and harmony in the working space. Creating a positive work culture that mirrors the ethics, mission, and vision of the respective company will also result in business growth.

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