Why Smart Leaders Of Today Need To Understand And Challenge Negativity In The Workplace If They Want A Bright Future For The Company

True leaders lead the way in cloudy waters. They serve their people, not the other way around. The best ones are the light at the end of a tunnel, where they are the only ones who can see the final goal before anyone else.

When there is chaos and panic leaders look as on Xanax, cool and calm. They empower their team and create other leaders on the way, following a common mission. If not, they are nothing else then self-entitled bosses with a fixed mindset.

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EXTRA NOTE! In today's environment, when we talk, the coronavirus affects people and companies, not only because of its severity - but because the panic created decreases the healthy reaction of the immune system with direct and quick consequences on the body.

There is serious science behind this, and I'm not sure how many got sick just because they broke their immune system while watching the news without any mindset measures. Working with the mind-body connection for so many years, I have zero doubt that a significant ratio from those affected could have skipped this.

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Back to my topic. We should have a balanced world in a dual world. It would seem right - like gravity. But that’s not true. In the current status quo, there is a measurable unbalance. Our minds are not that evolved yet. We still function too often with a fight-or-flight response at hand. 75% actually.

Please check this short video for that. Takes less than 3 minutes.

Some are more generous and state 80% or more. This is the ratio of the negative thoughts per day, and most of those thoughts repeat themselves unquestioned.

Everything you say out loud impacts you 10 times more than if you think it. And if that’s negative, the effect multiplies up to 7 times. If a leader says out loud to a team that, “This is a very hard project to accomplish.” it increases the probability 70 times to be indeed a very hard project. This is not something to take lightly.

THERE IS A GIFT FOR YOU AT THE END JUST FOR TAKING THE TIME TO READ THIS ARTICLE

Here is the audio (podcast) version as well. 

 

Same with saying, “You are very stupid!” to an employee. It will increase the probability for that employee to act stupid, or in the best-case scenario to not act at all and do zero damage in that negatively influenced state.

And because negativity is contagious it will increase the probability that everyone who heard that to act stupid or mean.

Leaders and Decision Makers UNITE!

If you are a leader or you own a company, you can’t ignore this. Against all the data this is not addressed as a priority by the majority of companies. The wonders of life, isn’t it? Because if I visit 20 businesses of all kinds in a day, without notice, there are maybe 2 where after 10 minutes I can’t spot negativity in different forms. 

Please tell me if you are luckier than me.

Negativity includes the entire spectrum of incivility, rude behavior, lack of respect and bad attitude, having a domino effect on all fields of work and life. Let’s just put them on a list. The Harvard Business Review gave us most of the data. They are even common sense if you think about them.

  • Demotivates people up to 66%
  • Increases employee turnover up to 20%
  • Reduces productivity with 25%
  • Decreases problem solving with 45%
  • Reduces attention
  • Contaminates others to act the same
  • Makes us stupid and more likely to miss obvious information right in front of us
  • Stops collaboration and sharing
  • Decreases the need to develop new skills
  • Affects all areas of life
  • More sick days and unexpected leaves
  • Lost customers (negativity takes its toll on the customers who are treated badly) 25% 

You Lose Tons Of Money

The damage over human potential is measurable in performance and money. It costs businesses $3 billion a year - The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported. This way it looks better: $3.000.000.000.

How about worldwide? Just imagine the costs. 

Common Sense Is Nowhere to Be Found

I have a separate article on LinkedIn about this. It's a different approach but the same issues. Common Sense In Business. Is There Any?

Now seriously, do we need research and data about the fact that if someone is negative or a badass (excuse my French)this can affect our state immediately? And if that “villain” has authority over us this can make an empathetic introvert to forget its name.

Even if you’re working cheerfully like a butterfly and in a flow, but you take notice of a conflict or outrage – you’ll feel something in your stomach. Instantly. You cannot help it. It’s an automatic reaction for most humans.

Body And Mind Reacts Instantly To Negativity

Negative thinking and behavior change your blood flow, posture, breathing instantly and it’s “Bye, bye!” flow. Those flow states are the most cost-effective moments of the day and never last too long.

By any chance this “event” affects your creative team in the middle of a deadline, you can say “Goodbye!” from the best outcome. Or even finishing in time.

I don’t want to pass this physical transformation which takes place because it’s important to stick and be remembered.

So continuing neuroscience a bit, if someone pisses you off (excuse my French again) you will be stressed, with less blood in your prefrontal cortex but more in the amygdala and muscles, so physiologically you won’t be too intelligent at that moment.

Why do I manage the term? You'll be stupid - plain and simple - in those moments. Even if you are usually Einstein, at that moment you are more like Shrek.

Negativity Is Contagious 

Intimidation, even as a witness of conflict around you, takes a toll on everyone. Regaining a good state without having a trained mindset and techniques to activate it’s not that easy for most; taking away hours of productivity a day.

It’s just as common sense as drinking water. Still, current workplaces tolerate such damaging effects with the cost of their company. This is not something to tolerate but addressed immediately.

Zero Tolerance 

Doesn’t matter if it’s about your drinking buddy, husband or wife, it’s not something to accept. If you want the best for your company and people of course.

Who doesn’t? OK. You got me. Psychopaths. But you’re reading this, so you’re not one of them. A true psychopath would have skipped this article as soon as I mentioned a ‘balanced world.' That was in the second paragraph, so we got rid of them early. :) 

The Impact Of Words

Words have an impact and they are reflected in our attitude and behavior. An employee who is constantly in a negative environment will function on the lowest levels of his/her potential.

Negativity not only creates a massive turnover but it's the reason for bad decisions, sick days and only a couple of hours of actual work per day. Please remember: what’s even more dangerous in my opinion is its infectiousness. 

People witnessing negativity are inclined to become the same.

 What You Get With Negativity

Basically, in an environment where negativity is tolerated your company will lose money, will have low performance and will be filled with sick people. Not to mention the effect on the psyche where happiness level, the reason for life, is nowhere to be found.

And we spend on average 90,000 hours at work. 

There is absolutely no reason to tolerate negativity in the workplace. It’s like a virus, easy to be spread, especially when we are all inclined to it.

The difference between champions, performers, elite winners, and the most successful people in the world lays here.

Decreasing Negativity Is Not Equal With Promoting Positive Thinking

For those of you who wondered. :)

It’s not about singing “Happy” by Pharrell Williams all the time. It’s not about instilling the positive thinking mantra which can create the opposite effect. But this is for another article. It’s about decreasing negativity with all costs.

Dinosaurs Died

Well, actually there are still some hybrid dinosaurs with the stick and carrot at hand, who see in employees a good donkey to exploit, but those days are gone.

Some "bosses" can’t see it with their eyes yet. There is our tricky cognitive bias friend, you know? But trust me – those days are gone. The industrial revolution ended for some time now, and technology plus awakening of people has a new direction and desire.

Your Gains Are Huge

I won’t repeat the opposite I just said above, but take those ratios of bad happenings for your company and do your numbers. Ask your accountants to help and translate those ratios in actual money.

You’ll get initially a headache. Don’t panic. You are still way ahead of the curve. Most of your competitors didn’t even notice they tolerate toxicity. You have time.

Start your battle with this enemy!

Not only that your company will gain and save tons of money, but you’ll have better workers, effective workers, creative workers, united workers, higher retention, more working days and hours for each, and not in the least a healthy environment where people don’t get as sick as before (mentally and physically).

And your initial headache will disappear when you’ll have at least a quarter to evaluate the amazing wins once you healed your company.

Not bad at all, right?

What To Tolerate And Encourage 

Do you know what your people want most of all? It’s only one word. RESPECT. 

What can you achieve with respectful leadership?

First of all, you avoid that ugly list of disasters from above. In short, people who feel respected in the workplace are healthier, more focused, loyal, engaged and motivated. 

You can start the change without any hesitation. For your own sake and your company’s future. Take the lead and give an example. Encourage others in the most powerful way possible. Using your new power weapon – RESPECT.

There Is No Excuse

You have no excuse to avoid taking action. If there is negativity in your workplace right now, you have a huge vulnerability.

Address it today. Don’t wait until your next best employees quit, or they are productive 2 hours out of 8 while your competitors gain terrain each day. One day the inevitable can happen, and you’ll ask yourself, “What happened?”

If many secrets are laying in negativity, now you have your answer. Start eradicating negativity with all costs, because actually those costs are none, only wins.

So let’s fight negativity together and make ourselves a favor, to live happier and healthier anywhere, starting from the workplace where we spend most of our lives.

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