Negativity is something that crops up in every work environment and sadly, non-profits are no exception. You can find that one person or a small group of negative people can have an extremely detrimental effect on your organisation and working environment.
Negative people are easy to spot. Take a look at this infographic by OfficeVibe for an accurate list of a toxic employee.
But what can you, one single employee in an organisation, do to combat this and move things forward in a positive way? My mentor once told me that in the face of a difficult colleague, you should aim to be the positive change!
- Encourage them to get involved in a new and exciting project, particularly if you require their personal experience or knowledge! We know that donors love to be asked for advice and we as fundraisers use this as a way of creating relationships with them. Why not give it a go with a colleague and see if it helps them feel more engaged with a project?
- Make a big deal when something good happens! Shout about it when a mailing does better than expected! Let everyone know how wonderfully a current campaign is going and all the good it will do. By celebrating the small wins, everyone will feel that energy. No-one wants to be the ‘negative nelly’ of the office and when they see someone else being positive, it will catch on!
- Don’t forget that successes are rarely a one-man (or woman) operation – lots of people are involved at different stages of fundraising and any successes should be attributed to ALL of the team. If you’re the team leader for a project, thank everyone that was involved in its’ success by bringing in a treat or taking them out for lunch! People who feel appreciated will WANT to work hard.
Negativity is contagious but so is positivity! Be the positive change and help others to be positive too. Good work always wins, so even if you are facing a challenging colleague, work hard, celebrate the success and the positivity will come.
Have you had any experience with dealing with negative co-workers? Do you have any tips or advice on what can be done to create a positive culture in the workplace? I’d love to hear your experiences to do get in touch.