We’ve all been around these types. You know who I mean. Those people who see the bad in everything. A few have “chicken little was right” bumper stickers while others are counting down the days to the end of the Mayan calendar, but most are like the rest of us. From time to time they find themselves a bit worn down and in need of a cultural shot in the arm.
It’s the negativity in the workplace that can really wear us out. Employers are trying to be employee oriented but even the most employee oriented workplaces shudder under the weight of a negative thinking workforce.
Understanding the causes of negativity and coming up with strategies to prevent negativity can help keep it from gaining a foothold in the organization.
So what are the causes of negativity in the workplace?
Towers Perrin came up with a list of 5 causes for negativity in the workplace.
1. An excessive workload. Businesses are producing only 3 percent fewer goods and services than they were at the end of 2007, yet Americans are working nearly 10 percent fewer hours because of a mix of layoffs and cutbacks in the workweek. That according to the Labor Department and the Washington Post. Seems like we’re beginning to mistreat the Golden Goose!
2. Concerns about management’s ability to lead the company forward. Trust in the workplace is at an all time low and many employees just don’t have confidence that the person steering the ship knows more than they do.
3. Anxiety about the future. If there exists an anxiety about the next month, the next quarter or even the next year, workplace negativity can fester. This is especially true when there is a lack of transparency causing employees to make up their own answers to their concerned questions of the future.
4. Lack of challenges in the workplace. I once had a job in college where I sorted mail before it went to the post office. The term ‘going postal’ was not coined at the time, but the monotony of doing the same thing over and over lead to very negative workplace conversations.
5. Insufficient recognition for the level of contribution provided. Everyone likes to be recognized for a job well done. I received a note in the mail the other day from my friend Tina Corner who runs a business coaching and peer advisory service called The Alternative Board. Tina was appreciative of something I did for one of her clients and took the time to craft a handwritten note. It made my day.
Next time I’ll talk about a few ways to battle those negativity blues!