How to stamp out negativity in your team

This week I got asked this question:

How do you kill the negativity that a few members of the team repeatedly bring to the table?

This is such a great question.

Negativity can be a nightmare for all leaders as no matter how hard you try you just can’t seem to turn someone round – and the worst part of this is that they can often bring everyone else down too.

So what is the answer?

Well – Firstly I’m a big fan of not letting negative people completely take over my time and sometimes there is absolutely nothing you can do as that’s just the way they are. Not great to hear, but sometimes the way.

If this is the case try focusing your attention on the rest of the team, especially when you’re communicating to the entire group. Don’t give the negative ones as much air time as they’d like,  while still addressing their concerns in as positive a way as you can, without showing frustration even though that’s how you might be feeling. Chances are the rest of the team are getting fed up of it too which they’ll soon start to pick up on.

That said it is a good idea to have a conversation with them to see if there’s really something that is bothering them that you can do something about, and give them the feedback about their negativity and why it’s a problem. It may just be that with a good conversation you can get to the bottom of it and iron it out.

Finally, if it keeps happening in a meeting, you might like to introduce a tool that can help like De Bono’s six thinking hats –  a fantastic tool ‘for helping people be productive, focused and mindfully involved.’ 

I’d love to hear your thoughts for how to stamp out negativity in the team. Let me know by leaving a comment.


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