Think about the last time you saw a person let out a huge sigh, slump their shoulders, and say something like “things will never change around here.” Didn’t it just completely drain you of your energy? Unfortunately, it’s very easy to get caught up in the “Ain’t it awful club”. Negativity is very contagious and easily caught. And in the workplace – especially if you run your own business – it must be avoided at all costs.
Stay out of the vortex!
Negativity is a big, black hole that sucks energy from everything and everybody around it. That’s why we feel drained after spending time with somebody who is in a highly negative state of mind.
It’s not surprising that negativity has the power to drain energy from other people. Being negative is not a person’s natural state and thus takes a lot more energy to fuel. Since one person cannot sustain the energy levels required, negativity will survive by attracting others and draining their energy to fuel the fire. It’s a vicious chain that can quickly spread across the entire workplace, sabotaging your productivity, performance and enjoyment of running a business.
Negativity comes in many forms
In the workplace (or anywhere for that matter), you can spot negativity in many forms:
- Complaining (this is huge)
- Putting others down
- Talking about people behind their back
- Highlighting other people’s mistakes (pointing the fingers of blame)
- Focusing on / expecting the worst
If you see, hear these symptoms in your employees, or even worse yourself – you may have a problem on your hands. Don’t undervalue the importance of this – negativity can bring a business to its knees if left unchecked!
Healthy negativity vs. Toxic negativity
It’s important to point out that not all ‘bad’ feelings are bad. Sometimes, being angry, sad, unhappy, or stressed is a healthy and natural reaction; you should not go out of your way to suppress, ignore or bottle up your feelings. But if you experience these emotions on a frequent basis they can become chronic and even addictive. That is when healthy negativity turns into toxic negativity.
4 Ways to Remove Negativity From Your Workplace
1. Stop Blaming and Start Learning
Next time something goes wrong, don’t point the finger of blame. You’ve probably heard the saying that whenever you point a finger at somebody, there are three fingers pointing back at you. Instead of blaming, first take a look at what you could have done differently to react to – or entirely avoid – the problem you’ve experienced. In most cases you will find there is always something you can do differently or better next time. Learn from your mistakes, adapt, and grow!
2. Stop Complaining and Take Ownership
Instead of complaining about a problem, do something about it. Does the guy in the next office constantly interrupt you? Are you not getting the recognition you deserve at work? Don’t complain to your friends or co-workers. If it bothers you enough to complain about it on a daily basis, then take action and make changes. Ask the guy to stop interrupting you or send you an email instead. Talk to your boss about a raise or a change of duties. Just do something. And if nothing works and you are still unhappy… maybe you have a much bigger decision to make.
Sometimes there is a fine line between complaining and simply communicating about a problem. A good general rule to go by is if you tell somebody about a problem more than once, you are complaining. Doing it daily will make it a chronic activity that is very poisonous to you and others around you.
3. Practice Random Acts of Kindness
One of the most effective negativity antidotes is to do kind things for others and feel the positive energy that comes with that. Next time you see a mom struggling with her baby trying to open a door, run over and open it for her. Help somebody carry something up the stairs. Pay for somebody’s parking meter or their lunch in the drive-thru. Leave a $20 bill in the bible in the hotel room. All of these simple little things can add up to you feeling really good about what you did. That positive energy can cut through the foulest of moods.
4. Build Positivity into your Organizational Culture
Make a positive, helpful and healthy attitude part of the mission, vision and values of your company. Hire people who light up the room when they walk in and bend over backwards to help others around them. Work with clients who love to do business and who are passionate about what they do. Work with vendors who care about their work as much as you care about yours. Make ethics a key ingredient of your cultural formula and enforce a strict moral code. Help others when in need and celebrate your victories loudly!
Negativity is weaker than you think
When you’re in a bad mood, it may seem that the dark cloud will never go away. But you’d be surprised how easily you can change your mind and mood if you put your heart into it. Try following a few of these tips (and share them with others!) over the next few weeks and see if the overall spirit and attitude of your workplace improves.
What methods have you used to eliminate negativity from your workplace?
Tell us in the comments below!