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Ever notice how contagious attitudes are. Good and bad attitudes will infect and affect all your employees. At one time or another, organizations develop an over-abundance of  “negative energy” or attitudes.  That said, negative employee attitudes and beliefs need to be addressed quickly. These negative attitudes can create a long term culture of failure that infects even new employees. Here are some ideas on how management can work to turn around negative attitudes.

Sometimes these negative attitudes can be linked to organizational trauma. Common examples are down-sizing, budget restraints or workload  increases. But sometimes these attitudes will evolve over time with no apparent triggering event.

A “negatively charged” organization is identified by increased complaining, employee bickering, lack of hope that things will get better, disingenuous attitudes towards customers and resentment towards leadership. Negativism is contagious. It can affect even the most positive employees.

Management Must Model Positive Behavior

If management is walking and talking in a  negative way, staff will follow. Just don’t do it. You must lead with confidence in your staff and show confidence in their abilities. Raise the bar, expect better behavior, support your staff, hold them accountable, confront them and always be clear and honest. You must set higher standards for your own work and relations with  your employees and set an example of positive behavior.

Confront Negativity

If you do not confront it, your staff will feel that you are either out of touch or incapable of leading and will not be confident in your leadership abilities. You must acknowledge the frustration and the negative feelings, nut never say that they shouldn’t have their negative feelings. Once you confront your employees’ negative feelings, seek suggestions regarding a  remedy or solution about them.

Seek and Identify The Positives In All Situations

When an employee suggest an impractical solution, we are generally quick to dismiss the idea. Instead, acknowledge it and build on it in a positive manner. Always identifying the effort while gently discussing the idea looking for a positive solution. Acknowledge the small victories and build on the momentum. Turning a negative organization into a  positive organization is a accumulation of thousands of little positive actions.

Positive Recognition is the Order of Business

Always take the time to provide positive recognition as soon as you find out about good performance. Do not couple positive strokes with  suggestions for improvement. Separate them, combining them devalues the recognition for many people.

Don’t Concentrate On Negativity

It is human nature to go along with the crowd. The general complaining and sniveling,  particularly in informal discussions do the most damage. When you are faced with negative  conversations, consider changing the subject, acknowledge the negative content and suggest that everyone look at it from the other, more positive side or ask what can be done about the situation.

In Conclusion

Most organizations to go through periods of negativity. Your managers play important roles in determining if that negativity will increase or whether the trend is going to be relatively short.  Management must understand that it is the little things that they do, day in and day out, that make the difference.

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