The Top Five Causes of Negativity at Work

In last week’s article about The Half-Crazy, Uber-Positivity Generator, I promised to share the top five causes of negativity at work this week. So here you go. Ready? 

Prior to conducting our Creating a Positive Charge Workshop, we survey participants with a two question survey: 1. What causes negativity in your workplace? 2. What creates positivity in your workplace?

I must present this disclaimer first: Although I play the part of a mad scientist at times, this is far from a scientific study. That said, I have surveyed nearly 1000 people so far and the results each time end up being amazingly similar. I typically get a list of 20-30 causes of negativity in most workplaces. I’ve hand-selected the top five that have appeared in almost every list (in no particular order, fyi). 

– Poor communication
– Gossip
– Wrong assumptions
– Not feeling valued/lack of respect
– Too much to do, too little time

There’s a million things you can do with this information, but there’s really only one thing you can do that will truly make a difference.

Take responsibility.

Whether you like it or not, you’re probably contributing to most of these items. Time to own up to it. 

Is poor communication always the other guy’s fault? Um, nope. Could you ask more questions, gain more clarity, and provide more feedback? Um, yep.

Do you ever gossip? Nobody ever admits to it, by the way. Do you ever complain about people when they’re not around? Do you ever just stand by while someone else gossips? Makes you guilty, too, yes?

Do you ever make a wrong assumption? This is also known as “shoulding” on people. As in, “Well they should have finished the project without being told.” Or, “They should use more common sense.” Or, “You should have told me.” Been there, done that. Many times. Today. Wrong assumptions and poor communication are roommates. Same rules apply to both.

Ever feel like you’re not valued? HOW DO YOU KNOW? Do you just have a feeling you’re not valued or did somebody come right out and tell you that you’re worthless? Oh, it’s just a feeling? Thought so. Maybe you should have a conversation about that with somebody. You might be very surprised at what you hear. Oh, and don’t you dare think “They should just tell me” or I will make you re-write the previous paragraph one thousand times with your non-dominant hand using the stub of a broken crayon.

Too much to do, too little time? Really? Last time I looked, most people are pretty lame at time management. We have too much to do, yet we find time for Facebook, YouTube, and cigarettes during our workday. Hmmmmm. 

Now, look at that list again. Is it possible that you have much more control over the top five negative causes of negativity at work than you originally thought?

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below & join the conversation!


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