When you see a problem at work, do you complain to your coworkers or do you try to do something to fix it? If all you do is grumble and whine, nothing good will come of it. Workplace negativity is contagious. Complain to one coworker and he or she will, in turn, complain to another, and so on. Before long, one person's negative attitude will spread to five more and then 10 more, and so on.
As the example above demonstrates, negativity has a way of spreading through a work environment as the fire spreads through a gasoline-doused haystack. Before long, all everyone will be doing is discussing the problems, and not only won't they be solving them, they won't be getting anything else done either. The result will be a loss of productivity.
Why You Should Lose the Negative Attitude
It's no wonder bosses don't like workers who whine incessantly. If you earn a reputation as a Negative Nelly, it may land you on your boss's least favorite employee list. So what can you do, instead, when you see things that aren't the way you think they should be? Is it better to keep your mouth shut so you don't cause the spread of workplace negativity? Is it better to say something?
A problem can only be resolved if someone brings attention to it but if you don't plan to be constructive, keep your thoughts to yourself. If you, however, would like to be, known as a problem solver instead of a complainer, speak up. If you do it the right way, you will make a positive change that could do a lot to improve your work environment. Rather than raising your boss's ire, you may instead be the recipient of his or her appreciation. Here are 5 things you can do that will help you lose the negative attitude and bring about change.
1. Don't Try to Fix What Isn't Broken
We sometimes see problems where they don't exist. For example, you may not like how something is being done in your workplace. You may think there's a better way to do it but that doesn't mean your assessment is correct. Before you say something, take a moment to think about it. Ask yourself if your way is really better or is it just a different way of doing something.
2. Take Your Complaint Through the Proper Channels
If you complain to your coworkers, all you will do is spread negativity. And if you've been paying attention to this article, you know by now that is something you want to studiously avoid doing. Figure out who in your organization is the right person with whom to discuss your concerns. You want to pick someone who will be receptive to your ideas, but you must also make sure you don't go over anyone's, for example, your boss's, head.
3. Only Give Constructive Criticism
Anyone can complain. If you want to do more than that and really help affect change, you should have some ideas for how to solve the problems that are bothering you. Before you take your complaint to the right person, do your research so you can come up with possible solutions. Then use your critical thinking skills to evaluate each one and decide which will bring you the best results.
4. Pitch In
Get ready to get your hands dirty. If you point out a problem and present a list of possible solutions, get ready to help implement them. This will demonstrate to your boss that you have a stake in making improvements that will benefit the company.
5. Know When to Give Up
What you think of as a serious issue, may be less of one to the person to whom you voice your concern. If the problem is simply something that annoys you, you may just have to give up or look for another job. There may not be anything you can do to change his or her mind.
If the problem is one that is extremely serious, for example, it involves something illegal or unethical or is clearly doing the company harm, you may have to escalate your complaint up the chain of command. It's a risky move and could harm your career, but you will have to ask yourself if you can live with yourself if you do nothing.