How to Deal with Persistent Negativity in the Workplace

Do you feel our world and our workplaces are becoming more negative? My friend Art Petty in his Leadership Caffeine newsletter, recommended 9 Words to Stop Negative People From Sucking the Energy Out of the Room by Mark Murphy, with a great idea for dealing with negativity in the workplace.

The author recommends the question, “I’m curious, what evidence brought you to that conclusion?” as a response to someone who inserts negative responses to new ideas. Responding with the author’s 9-word question is a great way to begin to end the negativity. The question is non-confrontational and extends dialogue. It is designed to get the conversation back to a facts-basis and to expose any “spurious (or nonexistent) factual evidence for this person’s negative interpretations.”

As Jesus-followers, looking objectively at the attitudes in our workplaces, do we see people becoming more positive or negative? Do our friends respond more negatively to things they disagree with? Do you sense people becoming more persistently negative or harsh? This approach provides an avenue to bring balance back into the discussion. But it still stops short of making a positive difference in the life of the person who is consistently negative?

What makes someone persistently negative? I’m not talking about individual instances. Some ideas are bad. Some warnings are merited. But often we know people who find the negative about everything. What can we do to help the persistently negative people around us? Do you have any ideas for how we can positively influence them and all of our coworkers? What can we do to show them love (Matt 22:39, John 13:34, Romans 13:8)? In addition to praying for them, could we reach out and try to understand them better? Could we try to meet them away from work, or talk with them about what’s going on in their job and their personal life? Can we find ways to bless them?

And as for negativity, as a Christ-follower, can you be pessimistic for the long-term? In the end, we’re going to celebrate forever with Jesus in heaven. Any wrongs from this life will be made right.

How do you try to build relationships with others at work so you can understand them and help them see the ultimate, positive future? Please share any ideas below or in the Community Let’s make a difference today and break down walls with people who focus on the negative.

Copyright: luismolinero / 123RF Stock Photo

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