Is Negativity Infecting Your Workplace?

how to combat workplace negativity

Differences in opinion, ideas and beliefs are all a part of a healthy workplace. But how do you differentiate between differing beliefs and negativity?

Negativity can be seen in attitude, the way one communicates, and their behavior towards colleagues. Negativity in the workplace can affect—and infect—the entire team, decreasing productivity, attention and performance.

Here are a few ways to eliminate negativity and help your team excel!

1) Acknowledge the problem. 

Whether colleagues are talking about it, or it’s just something you can sense, talk to the team about the negativity in your workplace. Get the overall picture and the details of what has been going on, as well as what might be bothering your team members. In private, ask open-ended questions that allow you to get more details about the problem. If you know the individual who is creating the negativity, bring it to their attention. Let them know that the way they are behaving is impacting the entire team, but also let them know that you will be there and are willing to guide them to a more positive solution.

2) Let your office be a safe space.

Sometimes the reason some workers act out is because they feel like they are not being taken seriously or being heard. Remember that every worker is different, and they react to different methods in the workplace. Open your door to your colleagues so they know that your office is a safe environment where their ideas and problems can be heard.

3) Encourage your team members to talk.

Instead of singling out one person causing the problem, you might consider encouraging colleagues to share their own feelings and thoughts. Those inflicting the negativity might take notice that his/her actions are impacting the productivity, mood and overall attitude of the entire team. Sometimes hearing it from a colleague and friend is better than hearing it from your boss! Additionally, encouraging everyone to share and talk the problem out could bring the team closer. 

4) Meet regularly to discuss the workplace.

Although getting work done is a top priority, you should provide meeting opportunities regularly that allow team members to discuss the workplace, how people feel about it, and what improvements could be made. In order for the work to get completed to the best of its abilities, employees need to feel comfortable. Having regular meetings to discuss the workplace can be a time where people share problems that they are having in the workplace; with that information, improvements can be made. Allow them to freely express their opinions about making changes to dress codes, office hours, pay benefits, working conditions, etc.

5) Allow employees to make calls.

At times, employees feel like their hard work isn’t being rewarded fairly and that they have no say in the workplace. Some employees also feel like their opinion is not valuable enough to provide it. Provide opportunities that allow employees to call the shots and make a few changes; this will make them feel like they have some control and influence over their own job.

6) Don’t treat everyone the same.

Each employee is different, so don’t treat him or her the same. They all have different work habits, attitudes and ways of learning. Get to know each one individually to know how to communicate with them. Consider this: If you don’t make an effort to know them, they won’t return the same respect.

7) Start traditions.

Your relationship with your employees is important, but so is the relationship that they have with one another. Making relationships in the workplace can sometimes be difficult, especially when everyone is trying to work in a silo, meet deadlines and handle their own stress. In order for all team members to connect with one another, they have to get to know each other in stress-free ways.

8) Allow employees to take time off.

At times, people bring the stress of their social and home lives to work because it is weighing them down so heavily. If talking to them about what is bothering them is not working, then suggest that they take a day or two to resolve their issues. Keeping them at work when they can’t focus on work won’t do them or your team any good.

9) Provide leadership opportunities.

No one likes to hear that the work they are doing isn’t going to lead them somewhere better than where they currently are. Always encourage your employees to strive for more, and reward when it is deserved. Give credit and recognize the hard work people put into their work; this will give them confidence in themselves. Rewarded work is the most powerful tool to enhancing your team’s morale and combatting negativity in the workplace!


Who—or what—do you need to complete your team? Contact us, and discover how we can collaborate with you to develop leaders that will raise the benchmark, leading others to success.