Every workplace has some negativity and some negative people. Some people slide from critical thinking and thinking about things to make improvements, into mere criticism devoid of helpfulness or constructive feedback. Giving and receiving constructive feedback is a key professional and leadership skill. In my opinion and experience “negativity” can happen more often in workplaces like libraries, academia, etc. where there are a lot of smart, educated people who when tired, saddened, blocked, confronted by economic downturns, or whatever, become overly negative and dwell in a bad place. This situation can make for a less than optimal and sometimes toxic environemnt for happiness, progress. or productivity.
I found this posting good:
How to Deal With Negativity
via Nathan Bransford
“The cardinal rule of dealing with negativity is: Don’t complain about negativity.”
“Once you have been picked on: try try try to care as little as possible.”
“Don’t respond. . . .But if you are going to respond, there is only one way to do so: with a perfectly clear head.”
“All of this boils down to one thing: negativity is a test of strength. If you show weakness in the face of negativity: you lose. If you show strength and character in the face of negativity: you win.
The Internet smells weakness. Be strong. Be magnanimous. Be virtuous.
And then you’ll beat those &*$^@*$ into a &*(^&^$ virtual pulp.”
Now, your personal reaction is one thing. Local leaders and managers have an obligation o deal with and not ignore slippage into a negative or toxic work environment and need to find the process, courage and tactics to deal with incidents in the workplace, meetings and between staff and (possibly) patrons. When it verges on the unlawful it especially must be dealt with.
I’ve written before about some symptoms that mark these public, work and professional environments (bullying, incivility, attacks, threats, name calling, etc.) and taken some licks about it. As with any situation, you can always control your own reaction to negativity and negative environments and situations. However, in the long run, it’s better to set an example of how we want to behave and be treated. When it becomes toxic and untenable, it’s time to look for a new personal future.