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Susan M. Heathfield

Tackle a Sea of Negativity

By November 1, 2013

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One consistent finding when you try to understand and fix the sea of negativity that exists in some workplaces is a bad boss. You can find out how to deal with a bad boss. This topic is a perennial favorite on my site. No matter how often I write about how to deal with a bad boss, readers want to know more. Their favorite complaint and the topic they are most likely to post about on my site is also bad bosses.

Address Your Sea of Negativity

I look at a bad boss as a particularly powerful factor in the sea of negativity that pervades some workplaces, but employees have other reasons for feeling negative at work. And sometimes employees just get caught up in what feels like a sea of negativity.

Once employee negativity takes hold in your workplace, it is incredibly difficult to dislodge. So, the key to taking care of negative factors such as bad bosses, difficult coworkers, bullies, gossip, and a lack of communication and direction, is to never allow them to get started in the first place.

Five Causes of Employee Negativity

A couple of years ago, Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson) and researchers Gang & Gang interviewed employees and discovered the five main causes of employee negativity. A number of these are factors that come up repeatedly when readers talk about why their bosses are bad. Nip these in the bud to discourage a negative workplace:

  • An excessive workload;

  • Concerns about management's ability to lead the company forward successfully;

  • Anxiety about the future, particular longer-term job, income and retirement security;

  • Lack of challenge in their work, with boredom intensifying existing frustration about workload; and

  • Insufficient recognition for the level of contribution and effort provided, and concerns that pay isn't commensurate with performance.

Workplace Negativity Poll

What causes negativity in your workplace? Comment and vote in the poll.

What Is the Primary Cause of Negativity in Your Work Place? (Choose Only One)

Image Copyright Paul Conrath / Getty Images

More About Employee Negativity

November 6, 2013 at 1:08 pm
(1) Jennifer says:

I work for someone without any management or leadership skills. This person is also a working alcoholic. We work in an environment where we do not feel comfortable reporting our bossís indiscretions, lack of leadership, and inability to make changes and take a stand when necessary. Our entire team lacks respect for our boss and we work with complete disgust.

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