Strategies for Reducing Negativity in the Workplace

dealing with negativityThe most-watched vlog to date confronts negativity and pessimism head on. And I’m not surprised. Who among us doesn’t have that one or two folks (or dozen) who seems to make it their mission to make us and everyone around us miserable.

However, believing this as a true and accurate story doesn’t serve us well, and shuts down our power to believe that something better is possible in this person’s relationship with colleagues and with us.

You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again…a complaint is a poorly worded request.

listening deeply with Sarah McVanel

Listening deeply to understand is the only way to lower the defences, remain curious about what they want or need is, and respond from a place of possibility. (Not to mention that this reduces their frenetic energy when they are keyed up; not feeling into their emotional rollercoaster means you don’t have to ride shotgun to it.)

I want to share a blog post and a downloadable resource that you may find helpful in figuring out what this person most wants. I’ve bucked needs into four buckets, not to “label” anyone, but simply to help in determining the uniqueness of different needs. I encourage you to print off the tool so that you can refer to it the next time one’s in the midst of an amygdala hijack. (More on this concert here: and you can read more about it and how it relates to emotional intelligence in Goleman et al’s infamous book “Primal Leadership“.

reduce negativity with Sarah McVanelYou may also find this Harvard Business Review article on “Calming Your Brain During Conflict” helpful.  The book “The Body Keeps the Score” referenced in it is on my top 5 books I’ve read in 2020.

And if you find this helpful, I have a few other articles for you:

As well as some videos you can share with colleagues to discuss at your next meeting:

And remember, if you want to reduce negativity, build trust, increase satisfaction in you as a leader, recognize, recognize, recognize. When you make recognition unconditional (I talk more about in the Flip Side of Failing), the more you can appreciate individuals when they’re not at their best, increasing the likelihood they’ll live into that better version of themselves. Maybe not that day, or tomorrow, or even next week, however if you hold the faith of someone’s resourcefulness and resiliency when they’re not at their best, they’ll be loyal to you and way more likely to prove you right.

“There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.”

– Mother Teresa

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