Server faileCustomers complain, file corrupted, boss is upset, leg pulling, feeling angry or frustration, reason can be any but it is true that everyone experiences a bad day at work sooner or later. At such times, it is understandable to be feeling a little negative about your workplace, and even your own abilities. Often it takes nothing more than a good night’s sleep to put you back on track, and re-energise you for your next work day.
But what if difficult days started outweighing the good ones? When negativity becomes a permanent fixture in the workplace, it becomes toxic for the company as well as for the employees. It drains workers of their enthusiasm and creativity, distracts people from their work, and can even trickle down in negative attitudes and language when dealing with clients. Working in a negative environment is a stressful and unpleasant experience. Often the negativity is a symptom of greater problems that the average worker is unable to influence or control. But, even if you aren’t the boss, there are several approaches you can take to minimise negativity and its effects on your work.
The atmosphere of the office can still be positive, productive and supportive if you want inspite of the negative vibes. The negativity is usually unavoidable but some things can be done to control and influence it. As a manager, supervisor, or staff member, you can control some of the negative situations. The timeliness of you intervention also has as impact.
Do some self observation. The first thing to be enthusiastic, happy and calm at the workplace is to recognise your own negativity. Usually, such negativity stems from working in a negative environment or with negative people. While you may not have started with a negative attitude, the bad vibes may eventually seep into your work until you find yourself increasingly discouraged and unhappy. If you don’t recognise and deal with your own negative feelings, you may find yourself mimicking the bad behaviours of others and contributing to your own and your co-workers stress levels.
The first thing to do when faced with a problem is to examine your role in it. Once you identify your role, it may be as simple as just tweaking your attitude or taking a more positive view. Recognise your own negative thoughts, and put yourself to work on improving them. Always remember thoughts travel faster than words. One cause of negativity is feeling helpless about other peoples behaviours and choices. Start with yourself because that is one place you do have control. So, take a step back and make a conscious decision to not let things bother you the way they do.
Communication is important
Communicate with your manager and co-workers. Take the time to understand and be understood. Offer your ideas for improving issues related to your job, and remember to listen. Make every effort to express yourself in a positive, constructive manner. Open, honest communication can go a long way in gaining the confidence of your seniors and colleagues. When a nasty rumour about you is doing the rounds, instead of cowering behind the cubicle wall, take a more pro-active approach. Confront the rumour mongers and state your case in a confident, yet non-aggressive manner.
How you react
One way to gain a bit of control back is to understand that things don’t happen to you, for you or against you. Things just happen. You are not here to control what happens. Your job is to control how you react to what happens. And the way you react determines how your life unfolds from that point on. Hence, control.
In other words, people and circumstances can show up (or throw up) in your life however they may, but you get to choose how it will affect you.
Don’t get pulled into gossips
Say you are uncomfortable talking about people who aren’t in the room, and don’t repeat what you hear. If you come across a troubling rumour, verify it at its source. Gossip only creates tension and ill will within the workplace.
Negativity could also stem from discontent over the company’s policies. Sometimes employees discuss the issues over the coffee-break conversations and with even a few solutions thrown in, but as is usually the case, the discussion will just stay at that and discontent will just fester.
Inspite of this, it is suggested that all those affected by the change come together and discuss the problem and take this group problem to the boss or the HR department. Remember, organisations also want happy employees and will welcome dialogue on issues or problems employees might have. It is important, for both you and your organisation, that you make a sincere effort to control negativity in your workplace. If your job makes you unhappy, chances are that discontent will flow into other spheres of your life as well.
Give yourself permission to tune out or walk away. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid negative people, but that doesn’t mean you have to participate and absorb the bad vibes. Don’t be afraid to simply say no, excuse yourself, or ignore destructive behaviour. Though getting involved might help, sometimes the best strategy is to keep your distance. A negative or pessimistic colleague may just be out to gain sympathy or attention. Don’t let it bother you. It takes all sorts, and you’d be better off focusing on the positive people around you than let one sourpuss bring you down.
Don’t be just another sad face in the crowd. Remember, only you are responsible for the way you feel. Don’t be afraid of what your colleagues will think of you if you take the lead. Workplace negativity can quickly turn a great opportunity into the worst job you’ve ever had. But the opposite is also true. Keep a positive outlook, and it may just spread to those around you.
The author is Ritu Mehrotra, VP global HR and talent management at Bristlecone, a Mahindra Group company.