How to deal with work­place neg­a­tiv­ity

Lesotho Times - - Jobs & Tenders -

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

As a man­ager or hu­man re­sources pro­fes­sional, you are closely in touch with em­ploy­ees through­out the company. this al­lows you to keep your fin­gers on the pulse of the or­gan­i­sa­tion to sense work­place neg­a­tiv­ity. it en­ables you to es­tab­lish and heed early warn­ing sig­nals that all is not well. You re­ceive em­ployee com­plaints, do exit in­ter­views with em­ploy­ees who leave, and know the rep­u­ta­tion of the or­gan­i­sa­tion in your com­mu­nity.

You watch the dis­cus­sions on em­ployee in­tranets, man­age the ap­praisal and 360-de­gree feed­back process, and coach man­agers in ap­pro­pri­ate staff treat­ment. this in­for­ma­tion will help you learn to iden­tify the symp­toms of neg­a­tiv­ity be­fore its morale-bust­ing con­se­quences dam­age your work­place. it will also as­sist you in pre­vent­ing and cur­ing work­place neg­a­tiv­ity.

Di­ag­nose work­place neg­a­tiv­ity Neg­a­tiv­ity is an in­creas­ing prob­lem in the work­place, ac­cord­ing to gary S. topchik, the au­thor of Man­ag­ing Work­place Neg­a­tiv­ity. he states, in a Man­age­ment Re­view ar­ti­cle, that 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.

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.

Per­haps the or­gan­i­sa­tion made a decision that ad­versely af­fected staff. Per­haps the ex­ec­u­tive man­ager held a staff meet­ing and was per­ceived to threaten or ig­nore peo­ple ask­ing le­git­i­mate ques­tions. Maybe staff mem­bers feel in­se­cure be­cause con­cern ex­ists over los­ing a prod­uct line.

Per­haps un­der­ground ru­mours are cir­cu­lat­ing about an im­pend­ing lay­off. Peo­ple may feel that they give the or­gan­i­sa­tion more than they re­ceive in re­turn. they may feel that a co-worker was mis­treated or de­nied a de­served pro­mo­tion.

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

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

Pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple to make de­ci­sions about and con­trol and/or in­flu­ence their own job. the sin­gle most fre­quent cause of work­place neg­a­tiv­ity is trace­able to a man­ager or the or­gan­i­sa­tion mak­ing a decision about a per­son’s work with­out his or her in­put. Almost any decision that ex­cludes the in­put of the per­son do­ing the work is per­ceived as neg­a­tive.

Make op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able for peo­ple to ex­press their opin­ion about work­place poli­cies and pro­ce­dures. Recog­nise the im­pact of changes in such ar­eas as work hours, pay, ben­e­fits, as­sign­ment of over­time hours, comp pay, dress codes, of­fice lo­ca­tion, job re­quire­ments, and work­ing con­di­tions. th­ese fac­tors are clos­est to the mind, heart and phys­i­cal pres­ence of each in­di­vid­ual. Changes to th­ese can cause se­ri­ous neg­a­tive re­sponses. Pro­vide timely, proac­tive re­sponses to ques­tions and con­cerns.

treat peo­ple as adults with fair­ness and con­sis­tency. De­velop and pub­li­cise work­place poli­cies and pro­ce­dures that or­gan­ise work ef­fec­tively. Ap­ply them con­sis­tently. As an ex­am­ple, each em­ployee has the op­por­tu­nity to ap­ply for leave time. in grant­ing his/her re­quest, ap­ply the same fac­tors to the ap­pli­ca­tion as you would to any other in­di­vid­ual’s.

Do not cre­ate “rules” for all em­ploy­ees, when just a few peo­ple are violating the norms. You want to min­imise the num­ber of rules di­rect­ing the be­hav­iour of adult peo­ple at work. treat peo­ple as adults; they will usu­ally live up to your ex­pec­ta­tions, and their own ex­pec­ta­tions.

help peo­ple feel like mem­bers of the in-crowd; each per­son wants to have the same in­for­ma­tion as quickly as ev­ery­one else. Pro­vide the con­text for de­ci­sions, and com­mu­ni­cate ef­fec­tively and con­stantly. if sev­eral av­enues or di­rec­tions are un­der con­sid­er­a­tion, com­mu­ni­cate all that you know, as soon as you know it. Re­serve the right to change your mind later, with­out con­se­quence, when ad­di­tional fac­tors af­fect the di­rec­tion of ul­ti­mate de­ci­sions. Af­ford peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to grow and de­velop. train­ing, per­ceived op­por­tu­ni­ties for pro­mo­tions, lat­eral moves for de­vel­op­ment, and cross-train­ing are vis­i­ble signs of an or­ga­ni­za­tion’s com­mit­ment to staff. Pro­vide ap­pro­pri­ate lead­er­ship and a strate­gic frame­work, in­clud­ing mis­sion, vi­sion, val­ues, and goals. Peo­ple want to feel as if they are part of some­thing big­ger than them­selves. if they un­der­stand the di­rec­tion, and their part in mak­ing the de­sired out­comes hap­pen, they can ef­fec­tively con­trib­ute more.

Pro­vide ap­pro­pri­ate re­wards and recog­ni­tion so peo­ple feel their con­tri­bu­tion is val­ued. the power of ap­pro­pri­ate re­wards and recog­ni­tion for a pos­i­tive work­place is re­mark­able. Suf­fice to say, re­ward and recog­ni­tion is one of the most pow­er­ful tools an or­ga­ni­za­tion can use to buoy staff morale.

take some time to an­a­lyse how well your or­gan­i­sa­tion is ap­ply­ing th­ese seven rec­om­men­da­tions. they form the foun­da­tion for pos­i­tive staff morale and min­imised neg­a­tiv­ity in your work­place. — hu­man­re­sources. about.com

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