It doesn't matter where you work, at some point all organizations have employees who develop negative attitudes. The reasons can stem from stress, trauma, being overworked, being underpaid, personal problems at home, etc. Negativity is like a cancer, and can spread to even the most positive employees.
So what can you do about it?
1. Be A Positive Leader:
It all starts at the top. Employees attitudes and performances usually reflect management and leadership. And if leadership displays negativity on a daily basis, it's going to filter down to lower level employees as well. That's why it's important for management to portray a positive, united front, even when things are not necessarily going well within the organization.
2. Offer Positive Reinforcement:
People aren't perfect so don't expect them to be. Yes, point out their mistakes and weaknesses, but do it in a positive, nurturing way. By the same token, pat your employees on the back from time to time, to let them know you appreciate their efforts. You'd be surprised what a little positive reinforcement can do.
3. Acknowledge The Problem:
If you spot signs of negativity, don't ignore it. Acknowledge that there is a problem and deal with it immediately. Don't allow the problem to fester and spread. If you don't deal with the situation immediately, the problem is only going to get worse. On top of that, your employees are going to think that management doesn't care about
them and their job performance is going to suffer. Talk to your employees on a regular basis. Inquire about their families and hobbies. Show them that you care. Ask what you can do to help them do their jobs better, and make the work environment more pleasant for everyone.
4. Add A Suggestion Box:
If you don't already have one, a suggestion box is a great way to entice employees to contribute positive ideas for improving the workplace. Just don't be afraid to encourage your employees to use it.
You can even make it a fun thing, by awarding gifts and prizes for the best suggestions.
5. Don't Fall Into The Trap:
It's very easy to get caught up in the negativity, especially with employees that you're particularly close to. Don't do it. When the bitching, moaning and complaining starts, take control of the situation immediately and change the subject to something more positive and pleasant, until such time you can meet with the individuals privately.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is not unusual for organizations to go through periods of negativity. However, the way you deal with that negativity makes all the difference in the world.