How to Reduce Negativity In Your Workplace

Negativity can spread through workplaces and organisations like a virus. It’s so easy to become negative at work and everyone is guilty of it at some point. The real danger is when negativity becomes a permanent part of a person’s attitude or the workplace culture. It becomes a downward spiral.

What causes workplace negativity?

One of the roots of negativity lies in a pessimistic outlook. One pessimistic comment turns into two and then three, and before you know it there’s a wave of pessimism that overtakes everything and everyone. It’s a phenomenon called ‘social contagion’.

Fortunately optimism and positivity can, with time and effort, become a habit in the same way as negativity can. Positive emotions and a positive outlook can become just as entrenched in individuals and in workplaces.

In a workplace, one of the keys is to have a few individuals who are willing to be ‘positive deviants’. This means that they’re willing to deviate from the norm in a positive way.

And while there’s no obligation for any of us to share what we know about wellbeing or to lead positive change at work, there are many benefits to doing so.

One ember can start an entire bushfire.

Even though everyone else is complaining about long hours, poor management, or a heavy workload, YOU can take a stand and choose to be positive. Share your good mood. Talk about what IS working well.

Eventually it will rub off on someone and you’ll have doubled the good vibes travelling around the office. It’s not going to rub off on everyone but it can start some positive social contagion!

Action Steps

If you’d like to be part of a workplace that values and cares about the wellbeing of the employees, you don’t need management to do it for you!

Here are 5 of the dozens of ways you can make a positive difference for the people around you at work – often without any extra effort of your part.

1. Be part of the solution
Don’t dwell on problems; instead be the first to offer solutions and then ask your colleagues for more.

2. Don’t always stay silent about negativity
You do not have to be a sounding board that absorbs all of the office negativity. Sometimes it’s best to suggest how things could be viewed or done differently for a more positive outlook.

3. Listen to co-workers concerns but don’t let them complain to you
Ask them what they can do to help make the situation better. Help them identify positive aspects that they can take away from a difficult situation or area not currently going well.

4. Acknowledge failure. It makes it OK for your colleagues to do the same and defines failure as part of the process of getting better.

5. Take care of yourself. Exercise, don’t overwork, take a break. A balanced team, mentally and physically, is a successful team. Model it, encourage it, support it!

Which approach will you try first? 


Working With Someone You Can’t Stand? 5 Ways To Handle It Well…

It’s a fact of life that sometimes personalities clash at work.

Regardless of how easy to get along with you might be, you’ll occasionally run into a person that just rubs you the wrong way. Sometimes it’s because their values or beliefs are different to yours; sometimes it’s a behavioural style difference. Regardless of the reason, any anger, hurt or stress that results from the situation can impact on both your productivity and your wellbeing if you don’t find a way to handle it in positive ways.

Here are 5 ways to help you with this common workplace challenge…

1. Get to Know Them Better

As much as it may grate, make an effort to get to know the person a little better. Family problems, insecurity and other personal issues can manifest as arrogance, rudeness or indifference. If you understand why the person acts the way that s/he does, then maybe your dislike could transform into acceptance, or at least feeling more neutral about them.

2. Look for Redemption

Generally, you dislike somebody because of a specific trait and because of it, you don’t look for qualities that you may actually like. Instead of focusing on the traits that you can’t stand, look for redeeming qualities. Everyone has strengths and good qualities. Find the good in that person and focus on that instead of the aspects that drive you nuts.

3. Keep It Professional

One of the easiest ways to interact successfully with somebody that you don’t like is to limit your engagement with them and politely cut to the chase when you’re talking with them. Open the conversation by introducing the work topic that you need to discuss and move straight into the details. Instead of thinking about how much you dislike the person, focus on what will enable the two of you to work together in harmony.

4. Figure Out Why You Don’t Like Them

Sometimes looking inward is tough but the reasons for disliking somebody may be your problem instead of theirs. If you don’t like them because you’re jealous or you feel inferior to them, then you need to resolve these issues within your own mind in order to be able to move past it. If it’s because they don’t do things the same as you do, or value what you do, then it may be an opportunity for you to practice tolerance and acceptance.

5. Change Your Behaviour

You may not be able to do anything about how other people behave but you can certainly control how you react to them. Be positive and pleasant. Look for their strengths. Give a genuine smile at them when you pass them at work; you may get a smile back!

Action Steps

Try some of these positive ways to reduce the negative feelings you have when interacting with that person you don’t like. You just might feel better for doing so!

Which approach will you try first?