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How To Bring Positivity to a Negative Work Environment

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How To Bring Positivity to a Negative Work Environment

A company’s work environment can influence how employees feel about their jobs. Negative work environments can affect productivity and employee morale, so building a positive environment can be crucial to business success. Learning about these work environments can help you understand why fostering positivity is important.

In this article, we explore what a negative environment is, share ideas to help you increase positivity among your coworkers and list tips to help you deal with challenging work situations.

What is a negative work environment?
A negative work environment is when interactions between employees, job performance or company culture limit positivity and productivity in a workplace. It can present itself differently, but unprofessional behavior and strained relationships often characterize it. Challenging work environments can result from ineffective communication and may lead to high employee turnover.

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What causes a negative environment?
Several common factors can create a negative environment at work, including:

  • Lack of communication
  • Lack of work-life balance
  • Problematic leadership
  • Limited career growth opportunities
  • Too much competition
  • Toxic behavior

How to bring positivity to a negative work environment
Here are some tips to bring positivity to a negative work environment:

1. Communicate frequently
Whether you are a manager or an employee, strong communication can combat negative environments. This means sharing your goals or expectations and ensuring teams understand this. Communication can also mean stating your needs. For example, if you feel negative or need additional tools or resources to do your job, you can communicate this.

2. Monitor your thoughts
Self-awareness is often the first step to becoming more positive because it lets you analyze your emotional response to a situation. Remember that you are in control of the way you choose to respond to each challenge. By becoming more self-aware, you can determine if a situation truly requires your attention and recognize the power you have to create positive change. Here are some tips to help you develop your self-awareness:

Practice mindfulness by paying attention to your surroundings.
Assess your capabilities to determine what actions you can reasonably take.
Ask for coaching or training from someone you trust.
Journal your thoughts to help you better understand the full scope of a situation.

3. Share your point of view
If you recognize that one of your coworkers is contributing to a negative workplace environment, sharing your observation in a caring and non-judgmental way can help encourage them to make positive behavioral changes. Remember that your coworker may not be aware of their actions’ effect on the workplace. Kindly let them know how others may perceive their behavior and ask them if this is the message they are trying to convey.

4. Focus on opportunities
One way to overcome challenging situations in the workplace is to focus on potential opportunities. If a coworker approaches you with an issue, try to make the conversation productive by asking them what they have done to solve the problem so far. You can also prompt them to think of new opportunities by asking questions focused on a positive outcome.

5. Perform small acts of kindness
Performing small acts of kindness is an excellent way to spread positivity in the workplace. Even a gesture as simple as smiling and saying good morning to your coworkers can help you establish goodwill and set the tone for a more positive work experience. Here are other examples of kind acts:

  • Surprising your team with coffee
  • Reaching out to a coworker to ask if they need help
  • Leaving a thank you note on a colleague’s desk

6. Seek to understand
Taking the time to understand how a challenging situation develops can help you produce more effective solutions. Build positive and honest relationships with your coworkers by showing them empathy, asking them questions and actively listening to them. Then repeat parts of what they say back to them to make your coworkers feel understood. This can help you find common ground and encourage teamwork.

7. Highlight victories
Taking the time to show your coworkers you appreciate them can be beneficial. Recognize team members who are doing an excellent job. For example, if a coworker signs a new client, celebrate by sharing this information with the rest of your team. Congratulate coworkers when they complete a project and thank them when they offer you help. Simply letting people know you notice their work can make them feel like valuable team members.

8. Assume positive intent
Do your best to assume your coworkers mean well and ask for clarification when needed. For example, if you receive a short email from a coworker asking for a status update on a project you’re working on, assume positive intent by recognizing that their email might be brief because they are busy. Respond by giving them an update on the project. Adopting positive intent can develop stronger relationships with your coworkers and improve communication.

9. Practice blameless problem-solving
Being solution-oriented can increase productivity, boost morale and encourage team members to be open when dealing with a challenge. Instead of determining who is at fault, focus on the actions you can take to resolve the issue. Focusing on solutions can improve your coworkers’ outlook on the situation, encourage them to work together and provide them with the tools they need to be successful.

10. Make time for yourself
Taking time for yourself can help you maintain a more positive demeanor in the workplace. Consider going for an afternoon walk, meditating for a few minutes between meetings or listening to your favorite podcast during your lunch break. You may feel more prepared to take on the rest of your workday as you relax. It can also help improve your mood, which may positively impact your team members’ moods.

Tips for dealing with a negative work environment
Here are some additional tips to help you overcome a challenging work environment:

  • Practice breathing exercises: Practicing breathing exercises can help you feel calmer, and you can incorporate them into your work routine. Holding your breath for a few seconds and exhaling can be a good practice that you can repeat often.
  • Reward yourself: Celebrate your successes by rewarding yourself when you complete a project or a challenging task. Treat yourself to your favorite coffee drink, buy yourself flowers or allow yourself to enjoy a relaxing evening at home.
  • Make a gratitude list: Making a gratitude list can help you focus on the things in your life that are going well and develop a more positive mindset. You can use a journal, calendar or smartphone to track your gratitude list.
  • Spend time with positive people: Surround yourself with positive people outside work by making regular plans with friends or family members. This can give you something to look forward to and help you strengthen your support system.
  • Develop a mantra: A mantra is a word or phrase that can help you remain calm and feel good. Develop a positive mantra that fits your situation, such as “I am capable of great things” or “I have overcome challenges in the past, and I can overcome them again.”
  • Listen to upbeat music: Create a playlist of songs that makes you feel good. Listening to upbeat music that you enjoy can energize you and help you maintain a positive attitude.

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