Human Resources: Managing Negativity in the Workplace

Many managers are not equipped to deal with the negativity that finds its way into their department. It only takes the negative attitude from one employee to have an effect on the department or possibly, the whole company. Moreover, factors such as personality conflicts, daily gripes, and interpersonal friction all have the potential to create a negative environment within a company. Failure to quickly diagnose workplace negativity can have devastating effects such as: 

  • A decrease in productivity
  • It blocks positives change
  • Overall morale decreases 
  • It increases chances of the company failing

Once employees become disengaged from their position, it is nearly impossible for them to positively contribute to the company. While it can be helpful to have employees open management’s eyes to new ideas and problems within the organization, it is important to quickly rein in the negativity that offers no solution to rectifying the issue or avoiding it. The red flags that management should look out for include: 

  • An increase in employee complaints
  • A focus on placing blame rather than finding solutions
  • Normally positive employees becoming atypically negative 
  • A lack of hope displayed from employees
  • A focus on why job responsibilities cannot be met

It is important to know that workplace negativity can be eliminated. Here are some tips to dealing with the early onset of workplace negativity penetrating the workforce and proactive ways to eliminate it.

  • Provide employees with clear and honest communication even if it is not what employees want to hear.
  • Provide employees a place to go to with concerns and questions to eliminate “grapevine information.”
  • Use active listening skills when employees have an issue and avoid arguments. 
  • Empower employees to eliminate the “victim mentality.”
  • Don’t allow negative feelings among employees to commiserate without intervention.

Whenever negativity begins to seep into the workplace environment, it is important to quickly get to the root of the problem.  More importantly, it is important to set the example. Displaying integrity, fairness, good listening skills, and mastering emotions are skills that trickle down to employees. Though it may be difficult, it is the job of management to quickly and efficiently develop a sense of  optimism, which spreads just as fast as negativity.

Contact ModernHR today to find out how we can help you.