Managing Negativity

Regardless where we are, negativity is bound to find its way into our lives. People find issue with topics like sports, religion, and politics, often resulting in a degree of emotional/social impact (yep, hurt feelings).

Truth be known, sometimes negativity can be a good thing, especially when we learn more about someone, something, or even ourselves, afterward when we can look back and assess the situation, maybe realize the importance of respectfully agreeing or disagreeing, overcoming our fear to make a claim, share a bit of ourselves and our own strengths and weaknesses.

What matters in all this is the core strength of the relationship that has been built between a manager and team member. Remember, a manager can be a role model, a teacher, a mentor. In reality, though, a manager is human, and may not always possess the acumen to instantly resolve conflict. Most managers learn to mediate or solve issues through practice, observation, and experience.

For these reasons, managers ought to realize the importance of really knowing team members, authentically, genuinely. Make it a point to understand nuances, habits, motives, dreams, of your team members. Take time to humanize every moment by building true exchanges, telling stories, talking about music, movies, life.

So what are a few ways we can manage negativity?

1. Change the environment. Go to a relaxing place. Let the dust fall. Go to a place where no one can see you. Sit a a few moments, perhaps quietly. That’s where the “real” begins. We can tell when we’re cared for. And when a manager takes time to really talk with a team member, it goes very far.

2. Get to the “bottom”of the situation. Use your trust to determine what’s up, what’s going on. The relationship you’ve built will weigh heavy on taking steps forward. If there is more than one team member present, give each person time to voice themselves. Make them feel they’re being heard.

3. Take it to a certain level, and if you feel you cannot go it alone, put it on hold. Let team members know you have done your best to understand, that there will be a part two to the situation. In the meantime, consult fellow managers about the circumstances, garner their insight, input, experience to assist in your determination to solve the issue. Then, when you go back for the “part two,” your team members will not only feel honored by your desire to see them grow, they will benefit from the interaction as a growth process as well.

Remember, we are all human. We all have layers. Negativity and discord can be disruptive. Build conversation, change the environment, demonstrate healthy exchanges and social skills. Your team members — and you — will benefit.

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