Stop Being a Negative Nancy at the Workplace!

August 31, 2012
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Understanding the power that negative attitudes have in the workplace and how that then affects the morale of everyone else and ultimately the productivity and efficiency of the company is extremely important.  Much research has shown that emotion can be contagious, particularly in group settings.  What’s important to note is the difference between the negative and positive emotions.

Let’s be positive and focus on the positive emotions first.  Positive emotions are definitely more attractive.  Humans have a tendency to long to be around positivity, so a fun and positive work environment is sure to increase loyalty, as well as production.  Further, positive emotions require more deliberate attention.  For many people, positive feelings require a great deal of attention and focus.  Negative thinking can be a natural tendency and for the all-or-nothing thinkers, once one thing goes bad, seemingly the entire world is falling apart.  Last, but certainly not least, positive emotions can lead to a great deal of creativity which is a huge asset to any company.  Positive emotions encourage innovation and collaboration, which spawns a great deal of intangible wealth to any company.

Now, when you look at negative emotions, it’s first important to note that negative emotions are more contagious than positive ones.  From rumors, scandals and every other kind of workplace sabotage, negative emotions can spiral a company completely out of control if not monitored properly.  Negative emotions are also accepted much quicker than positive ones.  Think about it.  How quick are you to brush off a compliment?  But, how quick are you to be offended or bothered when someone criticizes you?  Negative emotions can lead to validation. It’s easy to find an excuse or reason why something can’t be done or controlled.  People begin to point fingers at their own past, at other people, at the government, at the economy, etc.  Whatever they can validate as to why something can’t be done, negative emotions is sure to validate that feeling.  And lastly, negativity in the workplace is downright unpleasant—for everyone!

As mentioned previously, this affects office morale and can ultimately result in a lack of employee product and employee loyalty.

The good news is that there’s a solution to negative attitudes at the workplace.  It involves changing the way you run your business.   Here are some suggestions for avoiding negative attitudes in the workplace.

  • Listen to Negative Employees.  Identify who are the nay-sayers and the excuse-makers.  They may very well have legitimate reasons why they oppose an idea or don’t think something can be done, but be on the lookout and determine if this is a tendency for this particular employee or just a one-time occurrence.
  • Challenge Your Employees to Be Positive.  Without overlooking at reasonable facts and figures, challenge your employees to be positive and be focused on the “how to get it done”, rather than the “why it can’t be done”.  The mind is a very powerful thing and the more that employees begin to tell themselves that something can’t be done, the more they will ensure that it won’t get done.
  • Be Consistent and Make Positivity a Priority.  Every meeting, every office gathering, every interaction that employees may have with one another, try to maintain positive energy and emotions.  Consider decorating the offices and making visible positive images and self-affirmations throughout the office to encourage positive thinking and can-do attitudes.  When you make positive thinking a priority, it will find its way around the office and eventually into your bottom-line.
  • Don’t Be Afraid to Ditch Negative Employees.  Negative people in the workplace can create a very bad ripple effect throughout the company.  Address negative employees privately and see if there may be a way to help get them on-board with the positive direction the company is taking.  However, don’t be afraid to ultimately decide to rid your company of its negative employees.  Of course, be sure to do so within your rights as an employer and along proper labor law procedures.  Don’t overlook the power negative employees have on others around them and to the overall success of the company.

Negativity is a silent bottom-line killer of many businesses.  For companies that are not consistently looking to maintain positivity and reprimand (and even remove, if necessary) negative people from the company culture, this can become the biggest difference between a successful company and a failing one.  However, having negative people at the workplace may be inevitable (and hopefully you aren’t one of them).  Everyone has their own issues, whether it’s related to their personal life, work life, self-esteem, relationships at home, health—whatever it may be.  Using some of these tips will help combat these attitudes at the workplace and hopefully result in thriving success for everyone!

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey, leaders in the area of education and training of the nation’s leaders in the areas of team member engagement, customer service, leadership development, and sales and presentation training. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

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