If you manage an HR team, try these five steps to contain the mood:
Step 1: Recognize the fact that a problem exists. This can be more difficult than you think: Many managers focus so hard on good behavior that they fail to notice the bad.
Step 2: Address causes. They might be an employee’s personal problems, work stress or a lack of advancement opportunities. You need to pinpoint the problems before you can correct them.
Step 3: Encourage the person to accept responsibility for the negativism. It is not your fault. Point out that even though the person has reasons for negative feelings, it is inappropriate to try to infect others with his or her viewpoint.
Step 4: Help the individual replace negative behaviors with positive ones. For example, teaming the person up with a different set of workers may address his or her specific concerns.
Step 5: Work hard to instill positive attitudes in the people around the negativist. Infecting them with the “positivity bug” is the final step toward containing negativism.