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How to Deal with Negative Attitudes in the Workplace

Negative Attitudes at Work Spread Like Wildfire

Most companies will at some point experience employees with negative attitudes. And employees with negative attitudes are never fun to be around. Whether they be rude, impatient, or straight-up lazy. The reasons are obvious.

Unfortunately, bad attitudes can spread like wildfire. They can influence how other employees interact with each other. Not to mention their sense of job satisfaction, performance, and productivity.

A negative attitude must be addressed ASAP. Even if an employee is high-performing and skilled. The dynamics in the workplace will become too adversely affected otherwise. Even toxic.

So what can you do? How can you transform an employee’s negative attitude and turn it into a positive one?

Here are some tips to help manage negative attitudes in the workplace.

Management Must Lead by Example

Leadership needs to establish what is appropriate behavior through example.

Body language is important. Make eye contact with employees when addressing them. Show that you are listening attentively by nodding. And make sure to smile regularly! These are but a few effective ways to show a positive attitude through physical cues.

Management must exude positive, encouraging energy. This plays a central role in discouraging negative attitudes among employees. Supervisors also need to regularly recognize dedication and achievements when they occur.

It is especially important to maintain a positive outlook. This is important when situations in the workplace are challenging and uncertain. Perhaps a major client is considering not renewing his contract. Or your organization has failed to meet some of its targets. Put a positive face on difficult circumstances. You will go a long way in discouraging employees from adopting a negative attitude.

Identify the Sources of the Negative Behaviour

Often the source of negative attitudes within an organization is the organization itself.

Your first course of action should be to identify why such attitudes exist in the first place. An organization may be falling below standards and causing the negativity to occur. Identify the underlying cause. This will allow you to fix the situation and prevent it from occurring again.

Additionally, it is important to be attentive and available to your employees. This prevents a difficult employee from having a negative influence on your entire team. Show that you’re open to dialogue, both one-on-one and in a group. Make your expectations clear. Also, in making a point to recognize your employees’ successes, you’ll lessen potential sources of frustration.

What Causes Negative Attitudes?

A lack of recognition from management. Most employees work hard and want their organization to succeed. It becomes easier for an employee’s attitude to sour when their efforts are not acknowledged. They feel taken for granted by supervisors.

A lack of motivation among employees. Employees like to be shown how they are making a difference and contributing to the bottom line. When they are not paid enough attention to, they may feel like an insignificant cog in the wheel. They feel replaceable. When this occurs long enough and frequently enough, a negative attitude becomes understandable.

Keep an Open-Door Policy

An open-door policy in the workplace is the best policy. It encourages employees to freely discuss any concerns or issues. Knowing they will not be disciplined creates a positive, inclusive culture. Employees will feel valued and cared for as a result.

It is important that you acknowledge and deal with all concerns and complaints. Management needs to be seen as part of the solution, not part of the problem. Seek input from your employees and have them propose solutions when appropriate. Strive for clarity and reduce misunderstandings as often as possible.

Hold Meetings and Practice Listening

Hold regular meetings with the entire team to reduce negative attitudes. This also provides the manager with a regular platform to address problems with transparency. Many solutions to problems with employees are found by exploring options with them. This approach provides the employee with a platform to air their grievances. The team will also see how the organization encourages open and free discussion.

A negative employee that contributes to group discussions is also channeling their negative attitude. Even if you have addressed the same concerns on several occasions. An employee raising an issue is an opportunity. It can be a reason to explore if it is also affecting other employees. It may surprise you to discover that they are not alone.

An employee’s negative attitude can sometimes be a positive thing for an organization.

2019-07-23T20:39:35-07:00

About the Author:

Phil Eastwood is a former London Bobby who brings a thirty-five year career in policing to his role as Senior Partner of Fiore Group Training, a recognized leader in training top North American organizations. Phil is lead author of workplace training courses in respectful workplace training, workplace violence employee training, and leadership training seminars.