Negativity breeds negativity.
Have you noticed signs in an array of businesses reminding people to be kind to the staff and that they would be asked to leave if they were at all abusive? We’ve noticed this in doctors’ offices, restaurants, car repair shops, boutiques, and even grocery stores.

What about in your workplace? Have you observed team members, peers, strategic partners, or clients getting “snarky” with one another? Some feel this negative behavior is on the rise, and individuals and organizations alike are being impacted. Examples include:

  • Reduced productivity due to worrying about the incident
  • A decline in commitment and quality of work performed
  • Lack of participation in meetings
  • Frustrations spilling over to customer interactions
  • Increased absenteeism
  • Loss of creativity and collaboration
  • Desire to work alone
  • Quitting their job!

Gary S. Topchik, author of Managing Workplace Negativity, shares that a loss of confidence, control, or community is common when negativity prevails.  He also says it’s a killer of workplace efficiency and provides warning signs to look for:

  • increased customer complaints
  • increased error rates
  • declining work quality
  • increased employee turnover

As leaders we need to model the behaviors we want others to display and immediately address any negativity. The second part isn’t always easy as many interactions occur that we are not part of.  We do need to listen to what’s happening around us; this is increasingly challenging with working remotely so in meetings or during one on one calls pay attention to voices. How’s the energy level sound? If on video calls, how’s the posture? Who’s engaged and who isn’t? Have you observed any changes in work ethics?

Don’t hesitate to follow up and ask individuals how things are going, how things could be improved upon, and if there’s anything you should be made aware of. Don’t be surprised at what you may hear!


Mike and Jan

There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference.
The little difference is attitude.
The big difference is whether its positive or negative.
–W. Clement Stone