How to Make Positive Changes in a Negative Work Situation

How to Make Positive Changes in a Negative Work Situation

You cannot control a negative situation, but you can influence people’s attitude towards the situation and motivate them to take a more optimistic approach towards the situation and their work. Negativity in the workplace kills morale and reduces productivity. Sometimes, negative situations come up affecting people’s attitude towards work. Here are steps you can take to make positive changes in a negative job situation:

Take Action

Address the negative situation. For example, if an employee speaks negatively influencing others, address him directly and try to refocus his mind on the positive. Be gently and highlight the effect their negativity has on others and the work in general without embarrassing him. If the situation is beyond your control, speak to your colleagues and help them understand that they cannot change the situation. Guide them to focus their energy on situations they have control over.

Focus on the Positive

Highlight positive aspects that surround the negative situation. For example, if you lose an account, accept the loss but focus the team’s attention on your growth in the past months. Refocusing attention on the positive helps you acknowledge your achievements as a team and focus you energy on work. It also creates a healthy working environment motivating everybody to concentrate on being productive and contributing positively to the team.

Encourage Positive Talk

Do not entertain any negative talks about the situation. Encourage your team to look at the good side and only discuss the negative situation when providing solutions. Make it the team’s responsibility to turn around the situation by using words such as, “we will not let this slow down our progress.” Such talk encourages every person to take responsibility of the situation and find ways to make the most of it.

Address the Problem

Negative situations in the workplace arise when there is a problem. Employees feel like the situation is out of control and begin to complain. Address issues as they arise. If you cannot resolve them immediately, speak up and let the team know you are working on resolving the situation. If possible, encourage suggestions on possible solutions. Let everyone focus his or her energy on finding a solution. Alternatively, challenge your team to focus on other things and give you room to concentrate on the problem. The objective is to divert their attention away from the problem and create an optimistic energy.

Keep Positive Company

In a negative situation, you will have two groups: one that focuses on the positive and one that highlight the worst possible scenario. Choose the right company and make a deliberate decision to remain positive. It may seem impossible, but even the worst situations often have a positive element.


Sometimes words cannot turn the situation around, and all you can do is smile. Smile at your colleagues and encourage others to smile. A smile may not provide a solution or turn around the situation, but it provides a glimpse of hope. Smiling at people also encourages them to smile.

You cannot avoid negative situations, but you can control the effect they have on you. Always focus on the positive, and you will find even the worst situations bearable. Patience is key, especially when dealing with colleagues who would rather focus on the negative.


Image source: Johnlatham