We’ve all dealt with one. The Negative Nelly. The Debbie Downer. The Critical Cathy. Whatever name you choose, this is the person who just has to point out everything that’s wrong or that could go wrong with a situation. This is the person who shows up to work complaining about the traffic on the way in, snarking about the cube mate who ate curry for lunch, and spreading gossip around the office. In meetings and projects, this is the person who is always placing blame, questioning whether the project will be finished on time, and finding ways that the project is lacking.
A negative attitude or pessimistic viewpoint is the tendency to see the worst in things or to expect the worst to happen. Negative and pessimistic people limit themselves and bring down other people in the process. People who can only see the negative won’t push themselves to achieve more, and they won’t be inspired to innovate or to come up with creative solutions.
Having a Negative Nelly on your team can be really problematic. Not only can that negative attitude limit the team’s progress and bring down morale, but it can spread to others, creating a downward spiral. That contagious negativity can lead to bickering, lost time, higher overhead expenses, lost sales and decreased productivity.
Developing a strategy to handle your Negative Nelly, such as investing in Seattle team building exercises, can help you strengthen your team and save your business. Here are a few things you can do if you have a Negative Nelly on your team in your Seattle business:
Just like negativity can be contagious, so can positivity. As a manager, you can lead by example and project a positive, solutions-oriented attitude that is inspiring to your employees. You can spread positivity by hiring positive people who will be a good influence on the team and by investing in team building.
Team building exercises encourage cooperation among employees by promoting a sense of shared goals and teaching effective communication skills. After team members go through these exercises together, they are better able to communicate with a Negative Nelly and to work in a more productive way.
Get to the Heart of the Problem
Most negative people act the way they do for a reason. Some are insecure, so they criticize others to compensate for their own perceived failings. Some are prone to anxiety, so they verbalize their worries, which can come off as complaints or criticism. Some are just redirecting their unhappiness about some other part of their lives.
While you can’t fix every problem that a Negative Nelly might be having, getting to the root of this negative attitude can help you identify potential solutions for your business. For example, if you learn that insecurity is at the heart of the negativity, you can work as a manager to encourage this person and bolster their confidence.
Team building exercises can help you get to the heart of the problem by teaching effective communication skills. Fellow employees can also learn how to better communicate with a negative person to identify problems and solve them constructively.
Use it to Your Advantage
It may be hard to believe, but a pessimistic attitude can sometimes be to your advantage. Some criticisms can help you see areas where you can improve a project or your company’s policies. Learn how to filter what the Negative Nelly says so that you can take advantage of real opportunities for change. For each complaint, consider whether there is any merit, or whether the person is just complaining out of habit.
Dealing with a Negative Nelly can be challenging. A Direct Affect Team Building aims to help by offering team building exercises to improve communication among your employees and inspire a sense of shared goals. The right team building will strengthen your team and help to mitigate the effects of a constant negative attitude. We can hold exercises in your Seattle office, or we can host an offsite retreat. We can tailor our team building exercises to your needs, helping you to focus on activities to deal with a Negative Nelly or another problem you are having.