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How to Banish Negativity From Your Work Teams

By Roz, October 19, 2015
banishing negativity from your work teams

Like an infectious bug, negativity can crawl through the most creative of your work teams and stall projects, create discontent and disillusionment. It depletes the energy in the room and binds people together in a disagreeable package from which even the best and brightest have trouble escaping.


This problem is often brought to the door of the human resources department in the hopes that their closeness with the employees can help them to curb the trend before it takes over and sickens an entire branch or even stifles the growth of the company.


What are some things you can recommend right from the start to keep negativity at bay, recognize it before it becomes epidemic and stop it when it threatens to take over?


Steps to Take Right From the Start. 

Create a workplace environment that encourages autonomy. Give people tasks and projects to be completed by a certain deadline, and then step away and only interfere in a guidance capacity. Everyone works differently, and there must be room to allow this to happen as long as the results are delivered.


Ensure that feedback is not only a top-down exercise in your organization. Create venues for workers to give their responses to policies and working conditions in particular, especially such crucial work/life issues as vacation time, dress codes, and how overtime is allocated. Establish realistic policies for making decisions about vacations and leave time and ensure they are followed to avoid feelings of favoritism.


Steps to Recognize Negativity is Forming. 

Conduct exit interviews each time an employee leaves and encourage the worker to be thorough and frank about their reasons for leaving. Tell them honestly that only through such discussions can problems be solved and encourage them to talk about attitudes that helped them or hindered them.


Listen to what employees are talking about. Remember that the root of negativity is a loss of confidence and control. Watch for workers who seem resigned to be followers. Learn to detect signs of passive aggressive behavior. If you can’t get a handle on what the issues is from behind your desk, move away from it and into the field where the employees talk frankly. Build an element of trust.


Stopping the Spread of Negativity. 

Common causes for negativity are fear of pending layoffs or disillusion over the appointment of one employee over another. Lack of confidence in management also creates negativity as does the contagion of one influential negative employee.


You cannot ignore creativity because it grows directly in proportion to how little the issue of concern is addressed. Try everything from direct conversations with unofficial leaders in your organizations to setting up employee committees to bring serious concerns to management.


In extreme cases, breaking up of teams or reassignment of employees may be necessary to restore a balance.


To learn more about how to banish negativity from your work teams contact SkyPrep today!


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