Merge's Blog

Workplace negativity is toxic

GlassWater1The unfortunate truth about negative people is that their sour attitudes bring the rest of the workplace down.  And if you’re a manager, supervisor or team leader, it’s this toxic nature of negative people that should cause you the greatest concern.  Imagine for a moment that you have a glass of water sitting in front of you.  The water in this glass is clear and bright.  But what if you were to take a pitcher of coffee and pour a few drops into the glass of water.  Immediately the coffee would swirl and spread through the glass of clear liquid, and cloud and darken the mixture.  Negative people are like that.  Just a few drops can immediately cloud and darken the team atmosphere.  Just a few negative people can dampen team morale and productivity.  Which means, if you are a leader, you need to take immediate action to deal with those few drops.  Otherwise, if left unchecked, team morale will slip, productivity will suffer, and bottom-line, your people will stop working well together.

So what can you do about it?  Well, there are no quick fixes, but it has to start with a conscious effort to cultivate a positive attitude in the rest of your people.  Notice my use of the word “cultivate” – creating a positive workplace is a process, not unlike the progression of gardening.  The positivity seeds have to be planted, frequently watered, given sufficient light and nutrients, protected from predators and diseases, and allowed to grow and flower. This requires monitoring and effort.  If you invest time and energy into creating a positive work environment, it will combat the negativity toxin that is spread by a nasty few.

What other ideas do you have to combat negativity in the workplace?


  • Definitely a difficult situation to be in, particularly if it’s your direct manager who’s the source of the negativity! Unfortunately, in such a situation, employees have only two options – bide their time until they can find another opportunity elsewhere, or get sucked into the negativity vortex themselves and so become part of the problem. In the first scenario we lose good people. In the second scenario, we help create a poisonous workplace. All the more reason for leaders to stop ignoring the problem and TAKE ACTION to address the issues!


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