Despite employee engagement being a core focus for many modern organisations, negative mindsets can still creep into the mix – and they can quickly spread if left unchecked.

The reality is building a positive work environment with highly engaged employees is no easy feat, which is why boosting morale is an ongoing process. Work towards stamping out negativity at work and you’ll be rewarded with engaged workers who are high performers and achieve better results.

Try these techniques for overcoming negative mindsets at work:

1.          Give employees autonomy over their work

Studies have shown that when employees are given autonomy over their work, i.e. the ability to think and act for themselves in doing their job, satisfaction and engagement increase while turnover decreases. This is because workers who feel ownership over their roles are intrinsically motivated rather than simply ‘following orders’. Ways to encourage autonomy include:

  • Providing opportunities for employees to have input in decisions and make their own choices
  • Listening to employees’ perspectives and leading with empathy
  • Providing guidance without micromanaging
  • Encouraging initiative and self-led work habits

2.          Maintain consistent and fair leadership

Staying on an even keel is critical to being a successful manager, and it’s part and parcel with being emotionally intelligent. Picking favourites or flip-flopping in your leadership style leads to instability and even hostility, so it’s important to be conscious of your demeanour and approach. As a manager, the buck stops with you when comes to encouraging fairness and positivity within your team.

3.          Offer positive reinforcement for a job well done

When good work goes unrecognised it can be demoralising and makes people question why they put in the effort when no one seems to care. Avoid falling into the trap of demoralisation by taking the time to celebrate accomplishments, and reward and recognise employees in ways that are meaningful to them. This doesn’t have to be a grand gesture – something as simple as ordering lunch for your team or dropping a group email to recognise someone’s great work can do wonders for employee engagement and stop negativity in its tracks.

4.          Provide opportunities for growth

Having engaged employees is great but remember that engagement doesn’t last forever if there’s no room for growth or change. Develop a formal system for discussing career plans and goals with your team members so you can support them in succeeding to the next step when the time is right. Provide training and development opportunities to help them advance within the organisation, and provide clear and consistent feedback on how they can improve their performance. Above all, showing that you’re genuinely invested in your employees’ individual growth and acting on those discussions by facilitating training and development is crucial to keeping up employee motivation.

5.          Encourage a healthy work-life balance

An inadequate balance between a person’s work and personal life can have a significant negative impact on health, sleep, and stress levels. If your employees are being worked to the bone and not getting adequate to rest and recuperate, negativity will follow and overall productivity levels will drop. Encourage team members to make use of their annual leave to take a well-deserved break, and consider adopting more flexible working conditions that allow employees to better balance work time with their personal schedules. Encouraging a healthy work-life balance (and practising what you preach) will result in a more positive and productive team.

RELATED: How to fix negative workplace relationships

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