How Employers Can Minimize NegativityFebruary 26, 2015 - By: Jason Carney
Yikes! You overslept, spilled coffee on your white shirt and forgot about that 9 o’clock meeting. Does that sound like a Monday morning to you? We’ve all been there. Starting the day in that manner can take a toll on your mental well-being, but it’s important to not let situations like these affect your attitude in the workplace. The ripple effect exists. Just as smiling and laughter is contagious, so is negativity. Listen up, employers – do your part to minimize negativity in the workplace!
Don’t give negativity a foothold – Negativity is infectious, so if someone in the office has pessimistic tendencies, you’ll want to make sure it starts and ends with that person. Employees may act out for a variety of reasons and as the head honcho, it’s your duty to find out why. Ask to meet with this staff member and have a calm, two-way conversation to uncover the issue. It may very well be family related, a heavy overall stress load, or it could be work related, which you may need to be aware of. Whatever the reason, set a clear direction to mitigate the negativity, correct the behavior and put strategies in place to ensure it’s not a continuing problem. Make sure all parties are on the same side, and if you are in the position to help, lend a hand.
Consistency – It takes relatively little effort to say something or make a rule, but following through and enforcing those rules is another story. Are you leading by example? Do you follow through? Are you consistent? How’s your attitude? Inconsistency creates an environment of unpredictability and chaos, which can often lead to poor attitudes. Make sure there is a clear line between what is acceptable in your office and what will not be tolerated in the workplace in terms of conflict, stress, and poor behavior.
Offer constructive criticism – Want to create an unfriendly and intimidating work environment? Scold your employees for their mistakes in front of everyone at the next company meeting; but if you’re looking to create a productive atmosphere with happy employees, offer feedback discretely and in a constructive manner. Explain why the employee’s work was not considered up to par and position your conversation to be open-ended. Let your employee share his/her thoughts about the project and lead the discussion toward finding a solution.
Motivate – A work environment can be competitive, which may cause tensions to be high. Say for example, two employees are up for a promotion and while both are qualified, there is only one open spot. The person who isn’t chosen may understandably be upset. So how do you motivate that employee so he or she continues to produce quality work? Be sympathetic and try to empathize with the staff member. Give a detailed explanation as to why he/she was not selected and suggest areas for improvement. Working with your employee will help motivate and strengthen the chance for success at the next opportunity.
Communicate – To set the expectation that negativity will not be tolerated in the organization, it must first be communicated. Encourage good behavior with accolades and rewards throughout the year, and through annual reviews or bonuses, if possible. Discourage negativity through the same communication platforms. Employees will make the connection between their behavior and their potential salary.
Remember, some days will be better than others. If your industry is sales-based, your environment might be more on edge than the average office. High pressure environment or not, employers need to make sure their words, body language and demeanor upholds the positive standard in a respectable, professional manner. Encourage positivity and keep the office negativity to a minimum.