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How to stay positive in a negative professional environment


Nothing affects employee morale more insidiously than persistent workplace negativity. It drains the energy of your organisation and diverts critical attention from work and performance. Negativity occurs in the attitude, outlook, and talk of one employee, or in a crescendo of voices responding to a workplace decision or event.

by Louise Pope3 minute read

Negativity is an increasing problem in the workplace, negativity is often the result of a loss of confidence, control, or community. Knowing what people are negative about is the first step in solving the problem.

In my experience, when rumblings and negativity are beginning in your organisation, talking with employees will help you understand the exact problems and the degree to which the problems are impacting your workplace. You will want to identify the exact employee groups who are experiencing the negativity, and the nature of the issues that sparked their unhappiness.

Whatever the cause of the workplace negativity, you must address the issues. Or like a dormant volcano, they will boil beneath the surface, and periodically bubble up and overflow to cause additional damage.

The best way to combat workplace negativity is to keep it from occurring in the first place. These tips will help you minimise workplace negativity.

Tips for Managers / Employers:-

Improve communication

  • Share information with employees to reduce uncertainty about their jobs and futures.
  • Clearly define employees’ roles and responsibilities.
  • Make communication friendly and efficient, not mean-spirited or petty.

Consult your employees

  • Give workers opportunities to participate in decisions that affect their jobs.
  • Consult employees about scheduling and work rules.
  • Be sure the workload is suitable to employees’ abilities and resources; avoid unrealistic deadlines.
  • Show that individual workers are valued.

Offer rewards and incentives

  • Praise good work performance verbally and institutionally.
  • Provide opportunities for career development.
  • Promote an “entrepreneurial” work climate that gives employees more control over their work.

Cultivate a friendly social climate

  • Provide opportunities for social interaction among employees.
  • Establish a zero-tolerance policy for harassment.
  • Make management actions consistent with organisational values.

Tips for employees:-

  • Before approaching a task, you should plan the flow of work and organise yourself before starting the actual work.
  • Laughter is said to be the best medicine. You should try to see the humor element in any situation and laugh it off rather than allowing an unpleasant situation to get to you.
  • When you feel stressed or negative you should try out some deep-breathing exercises.
  • You should keep fit. A fit body leads to an agile mind that can easily cope with negativity.
  • Sharing a negative situation with friends can help to ease the stress.
  • An unbalanced diet causes health problems that may percolate to the workplace. Intake of vitamins and minerals will also help.
  • Take negativity head-on and don't allow it to get to you. Analyse the situation that is causing negativity and try to find solutions.

Finally, take some time to analyse how well your organisation is applying these actions. They form the foundation for positive staff morale and minimised negativity in your workplace.

How to stay positive in a negative professional environment
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Louise Pope

Louise Pope


Louise has accumulated more than 20 years of recruitment experience in the UK and Australia. After successfully managing teams for one of the largest finance recruiters in the world, Louise transferred to Sydney in April 1999 and launched new offices and new product lines, managing the group through significant growth as head of the Accounting and Finance division.

In 2004, Louise founded Aequalis Consulting. Louise has a down to earth approach, but her energy, passion and ambition still fuel the business today, and will continue to contribute to Aequalis’s long-term success. She is a strong advocate of acknowledging the shortcomings of the recruitment industry, and is known for telling it like it is.

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