Workplace morale is crucial to a company’s success. More often than not, a happy and satisfied workforce can deliver on time and on target. The fact that they are motivated and driven should be enough to tell you that they have taken the company’s goals to heart.
Companies and managers must give due attention to the state of their employees. Remember, workplace negativity can sap the energy of your organization. If left unchecked, it can be easily detrimental to the work at hand as well as negatively affect your firm’s overall performance.
This serves as a succinct guide to help you keep negativity out of your workplace. We shall show you how to identify the early signs of negativity in order to nip it in the bud. More importantly, we shall discuss how to create a healthy work environment that should help prevent these problems in the first place.
Understanding Workplace Negativity
Contrary to popular belief, workplace negativity can actually manifest itself in various ways. For instance, it can be seen through the general attitude of an employee as they come into the workplace. It can also be seen in the way they talk with their peers or in the way they see their future in the company.
While negativity can easily get out of hand, it is crucial that managers and team leaders understand where it is coming from. After all, nothing happens in a vacuum. The fact that there is rampant despair in the office should serve as a red flag. Keep in mind that loose talk, bad attitude, and poor outlook often stem from a loss of confidence and the feeling that one does not have control. Even worse, it can stem from the lack of workplace camaraderie and community.
That being said, you must watch out for the general crescendo of voices in your firm. If you listen to what your employees are saying, then you’d have a pretty good idea of how the morale is around the office. More importantly, keeping an open line of communication should help you understand the specific problems they are facing as well as its gravity. After all, there are several ways negativity can affect your workplace.
Addressing the Issues at Hand
Again, we must reiterate that workplace negativity does not appear out of the blue. Often, it is a result of specific instances or decisions which had an adverse effect on your staff. The reasons for which can seem insignificant at first glance but its aftermath should tell you otherwise. For instance, it can be the way a manager conducts staff meetings or the way we deal with questions and inquiries from our staff.
Addressing the issues should be your top priority if you do not want to let things get out of hand. It must be done in a swift and decisive manner. Otherwise, you may be setting yourself up for a much bigger headache down the road as negativity can just as easily resurface.
Of course, like with any other type of problem, there is a right way to approach these issues. The first thing a team leader needs to do is to help the team members involved that you are aware of the situation and reassure them that their feedback is of utmost importance. With that, you can proceed to explain to them the management’s side of things and how their behavior is adversely affecting the rest of the team.
At this point, you will have to proceed with caution. Be sure to explain to the people involved their importance on the team. Tell them that their input is highly appreciated. However, it should also be made clear that there are more productive ways to get their sentiments across. You should also highlight the impact of their behavior. Remember, you can only move forward by getting to the root of the problem. After that, you can proceed to give them the advice and the support that they need to get past it.
No matter your intentions, singling out a team member for their negativity can easily backfire. That is you must get the full support of your staff. After all, peer pressure is a far more effective tactic compared to a sanction handed down by a lone manager. If done effectively, peer pressure can help show a pessimist staff member the error of his ways and help him become more proactive.
In order to effectively do this, you must be able to set the norm for what is acceptable in the workplace. This method is known as establishing ‘collective wisdom’. This can include everything from consciously putting the customer’s convenience first to upholding a certain level of civility in the workplace without sacrificing the value of truth and honesty. Once the ground rules have been established, you will need to ask the team to hold themselves to it.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
It should be stated here that the best way to combat workplace negativity is to keep it from occurring in the first place. This can be done in a number of different ways. For instance, as a team leader, you will need to provide people with opportunities to make actual decisions that can directly influence their job. After all, the sense of helplessness often stems from a lack of control over a particular situation.
The same can be said about workplace policies and procedures. After all, people are not robots. They will inevitably have thoughts regarding important matters such as work hours, overtime pay, and benefits. The quality of the working conditions generally has a concrete effect on staff morale.
At the end of the day, companies and team leaders need to treat staff members with respect. The worst thing you can do is assume that they have to ‘earn your trust’ first. Such an attitude is counterproductive, to say the least.
Workplace negativity is a problem that is best dealt with quickly. Be sure to follow the advice presented above and you should have no problem with your staff’s morale.