Building Relationships: Handling Negativity

We have tips to deal with when you're feeling negative or dealing with negative co-workers
Little Rock, AR --  Some call it venting while others call it just blowing off steam but when we let our negative feelings  at work we can infect everyone around us. Here  with some tips on how to handle negativity in the workplace is Angela Etchison, Licensed Psychological Examiner with  Abound Psychological Services

What is workplace negativity?
It's an attitude that people have toward their work, their bosses, colleagues, or customers. May be it's a blatant verbal comment or a vocal change (yelling or mumbling) or nonverbal (frown or grimace, avoiding eye contact or inappropriate gestures). 

Why do we hear so often about negative work environments?
People have a tendency to watch the behaviors of others because our minds are wired to mimic behavior and emotions. Emotions are contagious. The more we see people expressing a particular feeling, the more likely we are to adopt it ourselves.

What problems do negativity lead to?
The workplace, like the human body, is made up of multiple parts serving different functions but working toward a common end. If one part (person) is not functioning properly, it affects the entire body. Negativity is a dysfunction that creates wear and tear on each person and breaks down the overall effectiveness of the team/organization. When we emulate negativity, it leads to conflicts between staff, lowers morale and ultimately affects our job performance. 

How should we respond to negativity?
We forget that we have a lot more to do the the type of environment that we work in than we often recognize or are willing to admit. We cannot change anyone else.  We can only focus on what we can control and that's how we respond to the negativity. 
Realize that your workplace is made up of different personalities and roles, and you can't deal with everyone the same way. 

Focus on the issues, not the personalities.
Avoid personalizing others' negativity. 
Be willing to compromise.
Keep calm and be positive. Remember: Emotions are contagious!

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