Every business has them. The naysayers. The negative nancys. The Eeyores. There will be a pessimist in every group. While it’s something that we’ve come to expect, how is negativity in the workplace truly affecting everyone? Well, the results are in and it isn’t great. Negativity breeds more negativity and negative reactions. The longer the negativity in the workplace exists, the bigger affect it has on everyone else in the company. 

A few concrete results of negativity in the workplace:

Stifling of Creativity
Break Down in Communication
Disruption of Teamwork
Lack of Motivation

When you have someone who is habitually expressing negative or pessimistic views, people will be less likely to come forward and innovate. Would you feel confident to express your thoughts and ideas if you knew there was a negative person there waiting to shoot them down constantly?

From Chron, Small Business:

When the workplace becomes antagonistic in nature, people do not feel the need to share ideas with each other. New ideas are not circulated, and the company does not move forward […] Communication breaks down in an unenthusiastic workplace. Staff members have either had run-ins with each other over issues involving negative communication and no longer speak to each other, or the air of negativity causes employees to no longer trust the information that others provides.

This is a dangerous place to be in an organization. You want employees who are encouraged to innovate, share ideas, work together and have enough drive to move those great ideas forward. The overall negative feelings that fill the workplace are like a poison. The only way to fix the problem is to weed out and reverse the negativity.

Imagine a new employee coming into an organization. By the end of week one, their takeaway is that the company culture is terrible. No one works together, it’s a cut throat mentality, and there’s no one you can trust. Who can thrive under these conditions? Where do they turn to for support? How is their growth being encouraged?

Management who are self reflective enough should be able to look at themselves and see if they are part of the problem. This includes yourself. What kind of feedback are you giving to employees and colleagues? Could your attitude use an improvement? Maybe it’s not you, but maybe you do know where the negativity is coming from. It’s important to fill the hole in the sinking ship. If the negativity doesn’t improve, then you should be finding a replacement for that person. It’s not worth bringing down an entire organization for a few unconstructive people.

Keep in mind the power of positive reinforcement. This doesn’t mean that every day at a company has to be sunshine and butterflies, but offer some motivation to people. Emphasize the fact that their ideas and work are appreciated. People thrive under appreciation. Negativity may breed more negativity, but positivity breeds positivity. Which direction do you want your business to go?

What are your thoughts on negativity in the workplace? Should the negativity be weeded out? Do you think people can recognize when they’re the problem? Comment below!