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Q.
My marketing team seems to be increasingly choosing a glass-half-empty mindset. Should I address this immediately, or let it work itself out?

A.
The more you ignore workplace negativity, the stronger it gets. Addressing it is critical since it directly impacts a company's production. Workers often suffer mental fatigue when the environment constantly highlights their company's limitations or co-workers' deficiencies.

I suggest convening your crew and asking them these questions: "What three things do you like best about our team and company?"; "What three things do you think we should do differently?"; and "What three things are you willing to do to ensure a better situation in the future?"

By having your team evaluate their own behavior and recommend ways to improve it, you are enabling members to solve their problems to some extent, and to be more positive in dealing with areas that need further improvement.

If and when the negativity starts cropping up again, address its causes as soon as possible. Be realistic about what can and can't be changed, but always emphasize the positive in these situations. Finally, be sure to offer consistent recognition to your crew for the small successes as well as the large. By facing the situation honestly, helping your employees find ways to improve their situation, and then instilling them with a strong sense of their worth, you give negativity no place to gain a foothold. E



Dan Lumpkin, organizational psychologist, is the president of management-consulting company Lumpkin & Associates in Fairhope, AL. Need answers? Email your career-related questions to askdan@exhibitormagazine.com.
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