We all know people who tend to be more negative than positive.
But when you have one (or more) of them working for you, it can really hurt your business. In a study released by Michigan State University earlier this year, researchers revealed that a negative mindset can actually reduce your workers’ productivity due to the mental fatigue associated with this way of thinking1. Meaning that they’re getting less done and that your practice likely isn’t as efficient or as thriving as it could be.
The American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) also reports that negativity in the workplace can ultimately affect your bottom line with the higher costs associated with “increased turnover, lateness, absenteeism, customer complaints, errors, accidents, and illness…2”
Finding a way to keep this kind of mindset out of your practice can ultimately save you a lot of time and money, but how do you do it?
Be a positivity-enhancing leader
One of the absolute best things you can do when it comes to squashing negativity in your business or practice is to be a leader who makes it easier to be positive. FirstCall, an employee assistance organization, a subsidiary of Main Line Health System, recommends that you do this by:
- Be clear with your employees about what you expect from them
- Show them that you’re interested in them and their opinions
- Practice and promote positivity yourself
- Let your staff know that you recognize their hard work and effort3
Everyone faces times in their life where problems come up at home that make it difficult to focus on work. Maybe a family member fell ill or passed away, or perhaps there is a divorce or some other major life change that is occurring that can easily affect your ability to put on a happy face at work. While the best case scenario is that they’re able to overcome their adversities in a way that doesn’t affect their attitude at work, this isn’t always possible or reasonable to expect.
It’s times like this that a little understanding from you can go a long way. Letting them vent occasionally or dispersing some of their duties until they felt more in control again. Sometimes even just saying, “It’s okay; I understand,” is enough to make a difference and make work their place of solace when home is in turmoil.
Promote work-life balance
With all of the demands that exist on each of us—from work to home to family—it’s easy to feel as if you don’t have any balance in your life. This in and of itself can cause feelings of negativity as you struggle to find a way to make it all work. Robert Half, a professional staffing service, suggests that you find some way to promote your employees’ work-life balance and they will more than likely repay you with a more positive work environment4.
Some options to consider that could help them achieve this type of equilibrium include being flexible with their work hours from time to time or even letting them do some of their duties from home, such as bookkeeping or making appointment-reminding phone calls. By working with them to help them feel more at peace as a whole, you’re promoting a positive attitude that will come through when they’re in the office.
Certainly, you can’t always turn a negative person into a positive one, but doing these types of things can definitely help you create a work environment that comes with more smiles than frowns.
- Michigan State University. “Workplace negativity can hurt productivity.” Published February 25, 2015. Accessed November 4, 2015.
- Topchik G. “Purging Workplace Negativity.” ASAE. Published February 2004. Accessed November 4, 2015.
- FirstCall. “How to create a positive work environment.” Accessed November 4, 2015.
- Robert Half. “Work-Life Balance.” Accessed November 4, 2015.