Dealing With Negative Talk in The Workplace
Negativity can take a sizeable toll on an individual. Unchecked, negativity can spread and harm an entire group of people. As a leader, it’s important to stay vigilant about the emotional environment in your workplace. Take some time as a leader, or leadership team, and be intentional about the atmosphere of your workplace. All it takes is the first step, and suddenly you’re striding into positivity.
Don’t Join In
The first action you can take is the most personal one. Try to avoid joining in negative talk or gossip. The more people who participate, the harder the harmful speech is to stop.
If you decide to join in on the conversation without engaging in negative talk, try to redirect the conversation. When you engage positively in a negative environment, you have two options. You can reframe the original discussion or change the topic entirely.
Don’t be afraid to speak up against negativity in the workplace. Change is impossible when we stay silent. Have conversations with your coworkers about why they have negative feelings or thoughts. Question why so many people join in and figure it out together. Speaking up may encourage others who feel uncomfortable with negative talk to speak up as well.
Provide A Collaboration Space
Create opportunities for your employees to speak up about things in the company. Negative talk can often appear when employees do not have an outlet for their frustrations. Provide regular times or avenues for your coworkers to communicate with you or the leadership team.
Provide Growth Opportunities
The first instinct may be to criticize and complain about the negative talk, try to avoid speaking that way. Complaining about negative talk throws fuel onto the fire and heightens the risk of a more negative environment. Try presenting changes as opportunities to grow instead of rules and regulations.
Workplace negativity can be natural to give into, but it’s easy to stop as well. Take time to think strategically about your workplace and how you address problems like negative talk.