No one is safe from overindulging in a bad mood for a passing reason (broken computer, crazy customer, bad-tempered boss…). However, when this sourness persists, it can easily give way to a certain negativism that will affect colleagues’ work environment. Don’t delay reacting and doing the right things before it’s too late.
Causes and consequences
Regardless of the source of the negativity, it often comes out at work. This is why, according to Statistics Canada, 47% of Canadian workers feel that “their work is the most stressful element of their daily lives”. So it’s no wonder your colleague Danny is negative about the number of tasks to be done, the few rewards he is given considering the effort made, the unfulfilling tasks entrusted to him, the discrimination he experiences, the inappropriate equipment he has to use… The result is that Danny is a frustrated and angry colleague – his creativity and enthusiasm are no longer up to expectations, and the work atmosphere becomes unbearable. Thanks, Danny!
How to condition yourself
If you are the Danny in question, act quickly to avoid such an escalation of negativity in the company. Know first of all how to recognize your own negative thoughts (frustration, fear, anger…) to manage them better and avoid repressing them, because they will reappear with more intensity. While the short-term solution is to lower stress levels – by taking a walk, inhaling and exhaling deeply – in the medium term it would be by talking with your colleagues or supervisor to let them know about the sources of your frustration. Also, keep in mind that small simple gestures or certain adjustments in your routine can bring benefits that your colleagues will appreciate such as opting for a healthier lifestyle by paying particular attention to diet and sleep. Strive to write in a notebook the positive elements of your life or even the significant accomplishments that bring you pride and peace.
What about the negativity of others?
You must have realized that your Danny could, all by himself, bring the whole team’s atmosphere crashing down. Don’t let this negativity settle in, but try to manage it as best you can. First of all, remember that the problems are not related to Danny’s person, but indeed to his actions and behaviour. Try to explain to him that these actions are detrimental to the team’s smooth functioning. Then, avoid taking part in gossip or speaking negatively of colleagues, rather turning around or directing the conversation to a more positive and agreeable topic. And if Danny is your subordinate, it will then be up to you to manage his incessant criticisms, his latent bad attitude or derogatory remarks, in order to preserve a serene working environment. Proceed in stages. Begin by listening (his complaints are a way to get your attention), then remind him of the rules governing each employee, then begin the resolution phase by asking for his solution (often a negative person criticizes without ever suggesting anything) and finally, if necessary, take disciplinary measures which could go as far as… dismissal.
Since positivity is as contagious as negativity, why not promote this option? In addition, as Alexander Lockhart said, a 19th century American politician, “An optimist doesn’t refuse to see the negative side of things; he refuses to dwell on it.”