Is Employee Negativity Bringing You Down?

Is Employee Negativity Bringing You Down?
7 Surefire Methods for Managing Pessimists

Some people are innately negative. They are quick to shoot down others’ ideas, rip apart plans and pinpoint every little thing that could go wrong. You won’t hear them talking about the positives of an assignment or find them pointing out the good in another person’s ideas or work.

Other people are negative because of their circumstances. Whether they’re having personal problems or they’re angry over recent changes at work, they can’t move past their bad moods to work in a professional and positive manner. They allow their emotions to dictate their attitudes.

Both types are draining. It’s tiresome to feel as if you’re constantly going to battle with someone, always expecting to hear criticism and forever trying to defend your ideas and work. That kind of combat slows progress, and as co-workers opt to avoid negative types, it hurts collaboration. Plus, one person’s negativity can spread to others and destroy morale.

Follow these seven strategies to address negativity effectively:

  1. Anticipate the negative comments and concerns, and prepare responses. Rather than saying “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” tackle negative teammates’ concerns now.
  2. Look for merit in naysayers’ points. They can spot pitfalls or weakness, so consider their points. Don’t dismiss them automatically.
  3. Show them respect. Avoid sarcasm as you acknowledge their points. Don’t roll your eyes or sigh with exasperation, and demand the same from your other employees. 
  4. Ask for positive suggestions. Say: “You’ve given us a number of reasons for not using the plan. Now I’d like to hear you present a couple of advantages.”
  5. Hold them accountable for finding solutions. Tell them: “That’s an interesting point. I’d like you to research that and come to me with a recommendation by Friday.”
  6. Show appreciation when they support a plan. Example: “I know you took a leap of faith when you endorsed the plan. Thank you; it’s already paying off.”
  7. Don’t let negativity rub off on you. When you find yourself doubting everything, spend time with more positive people.

Last month’s question

In last month’s issue, we asked: “What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to writing and reading others’ documents?”

  • 32% hate the use of excessive jargon.
  • 31% can’t tolerate grammar mistakes.
  • 18% said misspellings are your worst enemy.
  • 15% responded that your biggest pet peeve is the use of passive voice.

In addition, 5% wrote in and said “All of the above,” and another 1% said “Failure to get to the point.”  

Visit to read the free “Focus On … Clear Writing” section. We’ll keep it posted through Thursday; don’t miss it! And come back on April 1, to read the new free “Focus On … Grammar” section. Share the site with your friends and co-workers who could use some helpful writing resources!

In addition, we have created a place for you to air your grievances and share your pet peeves regarding communications! We write Nitpicker’s Nook for people like you who care about language and its correct usage!


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Sign up for the free Communication Briefings e-Letter! Each monthly e-letter will offer timely tips and commentary on communicating more effectively in the workplace. This valuable resource will give you access to tips for speaking and writing effectively, motivating employees, managing your time, and much more!!

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One Response to Is Employee Negativity Bringing You Down?

  1. Pingback: How to be an Effective Employee — Ian's Messy Desk

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