All it takes is one negative person to bring down an entire company.  It’s like when someone comes to work with a cold.  On Monday, everyone is fine, happy, and smiling, but by Friday, 90% of the office is sneezing, coughing, and miserable.

When one person is outwardly dissatisfied with their job, it doesn’t take long before everyone around them is affected.  People will spend their time gossiping and venting rather than brainstorming and working.  Productivity will take a beating, and the opportunity to excel over the competition will disappear.  And the higher up this negativity originates, the more damage the business will experience.

Quill created a powerful infographic on how to manage poor attitudes and negativity in the workplace.  Here are a few key takeaways to remember.

Body language and facial expressions are a dead giveaway.

One eye roll.  One sigh.  One sullen arm cross.  That’s all it takes to affect someone negatively.  To one person, it’s just a way to vent.  To the other person, it’s an insult… a personal attack.  When those people go back to their desks, you better believe that every coworker within earshot will hear about what just happened.  The negativity will start to seep out, and productivity will start to dwindle.

It’s important to nip this behavior in the bud.  If you’re experiencing it with someone, confront them.  Don’t just let it go.  Ask them why they rolled their eyes at you, and explain to that person how it made you feel.  If anything, that person will be embarrassed and probably won’t do it again.

Go-to guide for inspiring employees

You can even integrate this into your employee onboarding process.  But don’t just put it into your handbook and call it a day.  Explain to new employees that you don’t tolerate negative body language or facial expressions.  It’s rude, immature, and does nothing for anyone.  Encourage open dialogue and constructive feedback.

People devote time and energy to their bad mood.

We’ve all heard it before.  It requires more muscles to frown than it does to smile.  Although there really isn’t any science behind this, doing or being anything requires time and energy.  So if you’re going to do or be anything, make sure it’s something that’s positive and something that moves your business forward.

Wasting time and energy to negative thoughts will only detract from potential progress.  If you feel this happening to you, take yourself out of the situation.  Go for a walk outside, and internally address the ‘why’ behind the negative thoughts.  The same goes for those around you.

If you notice a coworker acting in a destructive manner, ask them why.  Don’t let the people around you think that it’s okay to be noticeably negative.  Tell them it isn’t acceptable behavior and talk it through with them.  If you let the behavior continue or if you enable this behavior in any way, then why should you expect it to ever stop?  And, ultimately, how can you expect it to not turn you into a Negative Nancy?

When people are upset, they tend to act childish.

People do childish things when they aren’t feeling so perky and full of positive vibes.  And the further down someone takes themselves, the more frequent these displays become.

This behavior can result in something like gossip and sarcasm but can even escalate into instances of harassment and manipulation.  This happens for a variety of reasons, but a big one would have to be due to a lack of emotional intelligence (EQ).  The Quill says to circumvent this type of behavior with some much needed EQ training.

Keep your culture strong with these simple office perks

You can ask your employees to read books on emotional intelligence.  Buy a few copies of the book, distribute them to your staff members, and integrate discussions about the book into your weekly meetings.  You could also send your employees to a seminar or ask them to attend a free webinar.

And even if your employees aren’t necessarily lacking emotional intelligence, it isn’t such a bad thing to reinforce and strengthen their current EQ.  Higher levels of emotional intelligence can result in better communication, team work, and leadership.


Take a look below to see the full infographic from Quill:

Click to Enlarge Image

Poor attitudes

Infographic by Quill