Are You the Negative Employee?

These 9 Tips Will Help You Address Your Negativity

Two women and three men arguing and negative at a meeting
Westend61/Getty Images

Are you part of the culture of negativity in your organization? When you are surrounded by people who feel negatively about your workplace, it’s difficult to remove yourself from the spirit of negativity.

Do you find yourself speaking negatively about work some or most of the time? Do you feel burdened with the negativity of your coworkers? Do you participate in workplace conversations that leave you drained of optimism?

And, do you complain to your family about work each night?

At some point, you will need to make a choice: to participate in the undercurrent of negativity or to break free and create a different workplace for yourself. Do you want to have your hopes and dreams and 40 hours a week (plus the hours of sharing unhappiness with your family and friends outside of work time) subsumed in negativity?

Or, are you willing to break free of the negativity that exists in an element or subculture in your organization? Are you willing to face your own negativity and create a different point of view?

You can stand with those who have resigned themselves to a negative existence in your organization. Or, you can join the people who’d prefer a more positive culture and who spend their time, energy and thoughts differently than this group of negative employees.

Here is what you can do to break free of the cycle of negativity and leave behind your reputation as a negative employee.

(Yes, if you've been negative, this reputation does exist - sorry.)

  • Recognize that you are human and occasionally experience situations in which you must uphold decisions you don't entirely support. You don't want to contribute to the negativity by your words, actions, non-verbal behavior, or voice. Yet, you want to act authentically so you are trustworthy and credible.
  • Know yourself well enough to recognize internally when you are becoming negative. Halt the thoughts that are driving your negativity. Stop worrying about whatever is on your mind pulling your spirits down. Change your thoughts to something you like or look forward to doing. With practice, you can train your mind to focus on positive uplifting moments.
  • The little voice in your head needs training, too. If you hear a constant stream of negative thoughts all day, you need to gently remind yourself that you've decided to change that talk. When the voice begins negative chatter, change it to words that support a positive you.
  • Become aware of work situations in which you typically find yourself becoming defensive or negative. Because you are aware of them, try to recognize when you are reacting and avoid your typical negative reaction. (Some people figure out exactly how to get you going and push your hot buttons deliberately, so to speak.)
  • Take a time out or walk away by yourself when you have dealt with a stressful situation. A few minutes alone may change your reaction and interaction.
  • When you find yourself reacting negatively to a direction, an announcement, assignment, or conversation, think about your best case scenario outcome. You may not be able to affect the decision, but you can make the best of it for yourself and your work team. Ask yourself what you can do to create your desired outcome rather than spending your time resisting and complaining.
  • Spend some time alone thinking every day about the positive aspects of your work and life. You don't want to spend all of your time on negative thinking. If there is nothing positive to think about, examine the life you are choosing to create.
  • Take a walk or participate in a physical activity you enjoy. These activities can help you clear your mind and they provide a different focus for your thoughts.
  • Treat yourself with care. Don't beat yourself up or second-guess yourself over decisions or mistakes. You are human. You learn; you grow. Focus on the big picture; don't get bogged down in the day-to-day.

Recognize that the only thing you truly control is how you choose to react to and participate in any situation you create or experience. I trust that these ideas will help you to address any negativity you personally experience your workplace.

You are in charge of your negativity. Own it.

More Related to Creating a Positive You