How to Manage Poor Attitudes and Negativity in the Workplace?

January 22, 20168:04 am3707 views

A smile is contagious, but so too are negative expressions, attitudes, and body language. In fact, research shows negative emotions have a more lasting impact than positive ones. Poor attitudes can negatively affect job performance, decision-making, creativity, turnover, teamwork, negotiations, and leadership.

The consequences of negative emotions root even deeper–negativity can even lead to a greater risk of health related problems, including heart disease. Before you get in a terrible mood about all of this negative banter, we’ve got tips and tricks for employees and employers to identify and quell negative feelings in the workplace.

From a simple coffee break to personalizing your work space, the research studies indicate on how to manage negative emotions at work to not impact on productivity levels and performance on job.

Actions speak louder than words and this holds absolutely true, when it comes to saying a lot more than words could say to your colleagues and boss at work through body language, expressions and gestures. Facial expression and body language can influence your thoughts and behaviours.

  • People with negative moods and attitudes devote extra time and energy to the mood, which can hinder job performance.
  • People with negative emotions are at a greater risk of developing heart disease and other health-related problems.

A recent CareerBuilder survey found that, 77% of employees have witnessed some kind of childish behaviour among colleagues in the workplace. On being quizzed further about childlike behaviours witnessed by employees/colleagues in the workplace are:

  • 55% whine
  • 44% pout over something that didn’t go their way
  • 44% tattle on another co-worker
  • 36% play a prank on one another
  • 35% make a face behind someone’s back
  • 32% form a clique
  • 30% start a rumour about a co-worker
  • 29% storm out of the room and 27% throw tantrums at work
  • 23% refuse to share resources with others

Noted Observations by Employers/Bosses on Certain Employees at Work

  • Company owner threw tantrums, yelled and slammed the door when things didn’t go his way.
  • An employee hid to get away from work and responsibilities.
  • An employee intentionally set up a co-worker to get him/her into trouble.
  • Employee ate other employee’s food from the refrigerator
  • An employee blocked car parking slots to prevent other employees from parking their vehicle closer to the door.
  • An employee gossiped all about colleague’s direct reports and pretended to be an advocate.
  • An employee constantly pulled up inappropriate content over the cell phone and showed it to her ‘clique’
  • An employee went for lunch and never came back.

See: Do You Hire for Attitude or Aptitude?

Some of these behaviours displayed by employees at work can seriously impact their career progress and advancement opportunities within the company, halt promotions and salary hike for displaying poor attitude at work. Some of the attitudes that top the chart according to the research findings are:

  • Possessing a negative or pessimistic attitude – 62%
  • Regularly showing up late to work – 62%
  • Use of vulgar language in the workplace – 51%
  • Regularly leaving work early – 49%
  • Taking too many sick days off – 49%
  • Gossiping at work – 44%
  • Spending office time on personal social media accounts – 39%
  • Always initiating non-work related conversation with co-workers – 27%
  • Taking personal calls at work – 24%
  • Taking frequent smoke breaks – 19%

poor-attitudes impact on workplace_Bethany

How to identify and conquer negative workplace attitudes?

Tips for Employees:

  • If you feel angry:
  • Get some distance from the situation, go for a walk or slowly count from 1 to 10 and in reverse order.
  • Once you’re back from the short break, find out the exact reason that made you feel angry.
  • Rather than blowing it up at a co-worker, pull the person aside and communicate why you’re upset and discuss on how to keep the situation from recurring in near future.

If you feel Inadequate:

  • Understand this feeling of inadequacy comes from lack of skill or experience.
  • Decide to work on your skills by finding a mentor to overcome challenges, attend seminar and do all it takes to maintain your confidence levels high

If you feel Rejected:

  • Recognise why you feel being rejected and it could be quite possible that you are interpreting the situation incorrectly.
  • In case of any doubts or misunderstandings, always ask for clarification to sort out any issues.

If you feel Frustrated:

  • Exercise patience and if you have solid plan and appropriate behaviour to achieve a specific goal.
  • Let go of your current results and concentrate on improving them in the future.

If you feel Stressed:

  • Take time to prioritise
  • Do what’s important rather than what’s urgent.

If you aren’t happy at work, we suggest you take some positive actions to help you feel better such as:

  • Personalise your work space: Decorate your work space with things that make you happy such as family picture, office-appropriate mementos, and surround yourself with calming colours for soothing effect on your senses.
  • Keep your desk clutter-free to reduce stress.
  • You can choose to add a few plants to your work space for freshness and easy pick-me-up.
  • Take charge of your personal and professional development at work. Feel free to ask your boss or supervisor for specific help.
  • Plan meticulously your annual and monthly goals to accomplish at work.
  • Be realistic about your commitments: Keep track of your commitments and deadlines in case you miss any. Notice when your workload surpasses the amount of time and energy you have.
  • A solid plan helps to understand that you are not slacking in your responsibilities, but maybe overextending yourself.

Tips for Employers:

  • Establish a solid relationship with each employee right from the start. Make it clear that you’re there for your employees, but try to keep it formal and friendly rather than too personal.
  • Keep your eyes and ears open at all times. Pay attention to instances of anxiety or arguing. Stay attentive when employees are out of sorts and address concerns on a one-to-one basis.
  • State your expectations clear at the onset and establish early on that negativity is not condoned at your company.
  • Set clear ground rules for workplace conduct. Hold regular meetings at work and give employees an opportunity and a platform to voice their feelings and concerns.
  • Setting up regular staff meetings can allow employees to address their issues and concerns with employers, before they turn into major problems.
  • Lead with a positive attitude as positive emotions are contagious. A right attitude can buffer negativity in the office and help you stand out amongst your fellow co-workers.

Negative emotions have a long-lasting impact on productivity. Both employees and employers need to recognise poor attitudes at work and recognise them to make changes to turn it around.

Also read: Fixing the Workplace Culture for Our Own Good

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