Many companies struggle when dealing with workplace negativity, not knowing that the measures they think will fix the problem actually do more harm than good. And so, what typically happens is that a few bad apples end up spoiling the entire bunch, affecting morale and productivity as a result.
While you could just fire the employee(s) causing problems, such a drastic course of action should only be considered when you’ve done all you can to address the issue. Below are 3 ideas to help you do just that:
Work on the Real Problem
Going on extended rants about the mistakes made by an employee, whining about the impossible demands of a few picky clients, and other similar bad habits of a toxic colleague all divert you from the real issue at hand. While problems do need to be communicated for them to be worked on, time spent on excessive chatter is time not spent on remedying those concerns. Help out that employee who messed up, call the client to discuss alternatives and solutions, and work on the real problem.
Fight Gossip with Questions
In any office, there are different kinds of chatter. For the most part, you have truthful and relevant conversations about work and work processes. But then there’s also the kind of chatter that’s a little more malicious — gossip.
Gossip mongering is a problem in nearly all workplaces that, when left alone, can be damaging. What you can do is ask a gossip who their source is. Ask them who their source’s source is. Ask them if anyone in that grapevine is reliable. Ask them how they think that kind of information would contribute to the workplace. Keep asking questions, and you’ll have shut down that toxic employee in the most polite and professional way possible.
This last workplace villain isn’t a toxic coworker trope but a habit — a mindset — that anyone can succumb to. When the negative side of a situation becomes overwhelming, it’s easy to dwell on the problem and find yourself sulking.
This not only keeps you from being proactive about the issue, it can drag down the people around you as well. When you find yourself in such a situation, set a ritual or routine to get yourself back on track and optimistic about your work.
Should you be fortunate enough to stay positive, make sure that when you encounter employees who aren’t as lucky, discuss the bright side of their situation with them. By doing so, you’ll be shifting the cultural poles within your organization from negative to positive.
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