Merge's Blog

Overcome workplace negativity by letting people talk

Workplace negativity continues to be an issue in many organizations; not a week goes by that a manager or supervisor doesn’t ask me for some ideas to combat the negativity toxin.  In the past, I’ve offered you a couple of ideas – feeding the grapevine and being inclusive when you communicate.   Here’s another.  Let people talk. Create forums for people to express their opinions about workplace policies and procedures. Provide timely responses to questions and concerns. When you let people discuss issues with each other you’ll find that you’ll nip small irritants in the bud, and negativity will decrease. For this to work though, when they talk, you have to listen.  Remember, sometimes people just want a sounding board, they want a place to be respectfully listened to.  Be visible, proactively schedule group discussions sessions or town hall meetings, and again provide responses to questions and concerns.

So what do you think?  Does this work, or is there a danger that it will turn into a “b*tch” session?


  • Beneficial as there might be problems with processes, environment, culture, or ways to engage problem solving. If people are complaining do they have a solution or idea to fix leaders should be thankful that someone is speaking if it is to fix a problem to help an organization from being good to better. The right questions ask all help people to engage discussion and bring brainstorming

  • Glad to hear that you agree Sue. I too have seen numerous examples of how opening the lines of communication has resulted in a positive outcome … sometimes not immediately, but definitely over the long-term.


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