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Epidemic ALERT: Negaholism is on the rise!

There’s a sickness that’s running rampant in just about every public environment across the nation (and beyond!) This illness will leave you physically and emotionally drained, lower your self-esteem, deplete morale, decrease creativity, and induce conflict and confrontation. The good news is, this sickness is entirely treatable and avoidable.

Do you or someone you know suffer from “Negaholism”? According to Dr. Cherie Carter-Scott, author of Negaholics No More!, Negaholics are people who are literally addicted to negativity. These are people who consistently view the world from a negative perspective and are typically pretty vocal in their observations.

My guess is that you know at least one or two “Negaholics” and have likely seen the impact their behavior may have on their environment. If left unchecked, the negative behavior can spread rapidly.

How to know if your environment has been exposed to and infected with negativity? Dr. Carter-Scott recommends you look for the following symptoms:

  • • Do team members compete rather than collaborate?
  • • Do team members appear to operate separately rather than cooperatively?
  • • Do they blame each other when things go wrong?
  • • Do they bicker over what seems like trivial or childish issues?
  • • Do team members experience breakdowns in communication that result in vital information intentionally being withheld or not shared?
  • • Do they dwell on excuses, explanations, and justifications rather than address needed solutions?

What to do if you’ve been exposed:
If you answered “Yes” to one or more of the questions, you’ve been exposed to “Negaholism.” The best thing for you to do to stop the sickness from spreading is to educate those around you to recognize and correct the behavior in its earliest stages.

Step 1. Be safe out there! As the saying goes, “Attention grows where attention goes.” Once you notice negativity, you’re likely to see it everywhere. The key is to focus on and reward positive behavior rather than to condemn the negative. After all, you want to be part of the solution – rather than part of the problem.

Step 2. Set a target for healthy behavior. You don’t have to love (or even like) those you work or live with. However, you can still set guidelines and expectations regarding how you will treat each other. Decide what you would like to see as the normal baseline for healthy behaviors at work or at home and come up with common themes you can agree upon.

Step 3. Let the “negaholic” know how they will benefit from the intervention. When you’re setting expectations, let the other person know that you recognize that they have their own perspective and help them see how this new (healthy) behavior will benefit them in the long run. Get creative about showing them “what’s in it for them.”

Step 4. Be the change you want to see. This quote, by Mahatma Gandhi, says it all. If you want to create and/or maintain a healthy environment, you’ll need to demonstrate healthy behaviors on a consistent basis. Treat everyone with respect and dignity, try to maintain a sense of humor, and set your attention on the more positive aspects of your environment.

Step 5. Stop the madness. Literally. If you’re seeing unhealthy symptoms you need to act quickly. If you’re not seeing the results you’d like to see through your actions, it may be time to call in a professional for backup. The important thing is to get to the root cause and take action as quickly as possible so you can avoid long term damage to your motivation, productivity, and overall success.

Questions about how to create a healthy & productive work environment? Click the “contact” button on the left side of this page to contact me today.

©2014 Lisa Broesch All rights reserved internationally.  Permission granted to excerpt or redistribute with attribution and notification.