Workplace negativity is a little different from employee negativity? How so? One is more destructive than the other. If you have an employee that’s negative all the time, sure, he or she can affect others in time if left unaddressed. But if you have a workplace that’s negative, then generally it means that everyone is affected already. As a manager, you have to handle this situation quickly and precisely.
First off, you need to identify what the problem is. The best way to do this is to talk to your staff individually at first and then collectively once you know what the problem is. Often times it’s a very minor thing that has festered into something huge because it wasn’t addressed or resolved at the time that it happened.
Unfortunately, a lot of the time the causes for such negativity are out of your hands. Sometimes staff aren’t happy with the direction the company is going, or have heard rumours about layoffs or new pay structures. At times like that, it’s often fear of the unknown that causes the negativity in the workplace. When I was faced with this scenario, I sent out memos to everyone involved and then called a staff meeting to address the pending pay reviews and company restructuring. A lot of unfounded rumours are spread by people who love to gossip and sensationalise things so they become the centre of attention. You need to stop people like that in their tracks as soon as you hear about it and deal with that person. You need to make it clear to all your staff that you will not under any circumstances tolerate anyone spreading rumours or unfounded ‘facts’! I don’t know about you but I found it very exhausting dealing with a negative workplace day after day. If a person after being told to stop their gossip-mongering, take whatever disciplinary action you are allowed to weed such people out. I couldn’t be bothered with them and neither should you. They are paid to work not create a negative working environment.
There are many causes for workplace negativity, but there is a lot you can do to minimise it. You need to stay alert, talk to your staff and deal with a potentially negative issue straight away before it affects everyone.