Everyone has a bad day at work from time to time, but you may notice that some of your workers have a bad attitude fairly regularly. Workplace negativity can be contagious, draining your team of energy and pulling their attention away from their important tasks and ultimately affecting your company’s bottom line.
Workplace negativity can easily impact everything from the morale of your team to absenteeism, and more. This is an issue that leadership must constantly look out for and take active steps to rectify. Anyone on your team who is regularly pessimistic should be addressed promptly and privately so that the sentiment does not spread.
1. Foster Regular Communication
In many cases, pessimistic workers have legitimate grievances. In some cases, they may feel as though management does nothing to address the problem or does not care what employees think. As a leader in your organization, you must create an open-door policy so that everyone feels comfortable approaching you directly with grievances. You also need to approach individuals directly who may have a problem with some aspect of their job.
When you become aware of a grievance that one of your employees has, ask them to provide you with proof or facts surrounding the issue. In addition, ask them for suggestions about how to rectify the problem. You can create a roundtable or open forum in your office so that each person involved has the opportunity to speak up. This should be a safe and hopefully positive space.
2. Treat Your Employees with Respect
When you treat your employees as children who are constantly babied and watched over, they will sense that lack of trust. You should respect all of your employees as contributing adults. Deal with any behavioral issues in private and in a constructive way. Allow your employees to learn from their mistakes and to move on.
Create a list of policies and procedures, and apply these guidelines fairly to all employees. Your employees must understand behaviors that are not permitted in the workplace as well as what the ramifications for these behaviors are.
3. Motivate with Appropriate Rewards and Recognition
You may notice that office morale quickly improves when you recognize hard work and contributions in different ways. This may be by publicly thanking employees for a job well done or by giving bonuses or special rewards. Your team will feel more positively about working hard for the company when they feel valued and appreciated.
Another idea is to encourage and promote peer-to-peer feedback. While your team wants to feel valued by you, they also want their co-workers to be appreciative of their efforts. Create a program that allows or encourages your team members to make positive comments to each other.
4. Give Your Employees the Opportunity to Grow
When your employees feel as though they are spinning their wheels in their position without advancing, they can easily develop negative feelings about their job. Regularly look for and offer opportunities for your team to advance their skills and to gain valuable knowledge. Consider using EdTech, which can be a great inexpensive option for your company to provide education and help your employees learn new skills. This may enable lateral moves for development, internal promotions, and more.
In addition, help your team understand corporate goals and missions, and how they can actively contribute toward these goals. Empower your team to complete their tasks without constant oversight, and encourage them to seek new knowledge and skills to improve their performance or results.
In some office environments, it may seem as though negative energy is spreading uncontrollably. While this is a serious issue, it is also a situation that you can improve substantially when you adopt the right strategies. Remember to look for ways to improve yourself as well as your operational efforts to make your environment more positive and productive.
5. Lead by Example
Your attitude at work each day can have a major impact on morale and overall office sentiment. When your team sees that you are regularly stressed or unhappy at work, their own sentiments may mimic yours. Remember that you cannot ask your team to be positive and to have open, productive communications if you cannot do the same yourself.
In addition, choose only very positive individuals for middle management positions. These should be individuals who can keep a positive attitude while working hard. They also steer clear of office gossip and focus on the task at hand. Each level of your organization should have positivity interwoven into it.
About the Contributor: Helen Eagleton, a freelance blogger from Boston, follows topics in the realm of education, technology, digital marketing, and business in general. When she’s not researching for her next article, she enjoys watching documentaries and exploring the nature. Reach her @eagleton_helen