Workplace negativity can spread like wildfire; it is contagious and needs to be dealt with quickly to avoid disastrous results.
A performing team needs a manager who isn’t afraid to tackle negativity and use all their power to create a positive working environment.
No matter how strong a leader you are, with a team of differing abilities, roles, and personalities below you, at some point you will face workplace negativity. Negativity is always a barrier to getting things done, slows productivity and heavily impacts morale.
Here are some simple tips on helping to overcome it, and fast.
Overcoming Workplace negativity
- Nip it in the bud. Don’t sit back and wait for what starts as a niggle in the workplace to turn into a full on negative affair. Address the issues as they arrive to prevent them escalating.
- Recognise what is the difference between negativity and a different opinion. Discussion is good, different styles can make a business thrive. But plain old arguments and grumpiness don’t further a team.
- Lead by example. What does your language say about you? Do you always frame things positively or do you use victim mentality such as ‘where did the time go?’, ‘I’m too busy,’ and ‘we are doing badly.’
- Your team need their leader to be able to find a positive trend to motivate them and get them back on track. If you allow yourself to be negative, then they will only follow suit.
- Encourage positivism. We are all guilty of seeing the bad before the good, and jumping into problems whilst not seeing the good behaviour. Take time to see what individuals in your team are doing well and recognise them for it.
- Identify the cause. Knowing you have a team with low morale is one thing, but knowing why is a completely different ball game. Speak to them; find out their concerns and then look at creating a solution. Listening to your team is key; it makes them feel valued and appreciated
- If you have a negative individual, don’t give them all the attention and your time. Deal with the matter privately and avoid a confrontation in the office. Remember a negative individual does not always signify a poor performer, so again, listen, understand and then deal with the problem at hand.
It can be challenging as a manager trying to deal with negativity, but like most things it doesn’t go away when ignored. Ensure you have support as well either from your manager or peers to sound ideas off on how best to proceed. Reflect on what worked well and what could have gone better and make a plan of how you can react differently next time.
All of these steps will help cement your future as a great manager.
For more advice on managing and retaining your staff, have a look through these blog posts.