Burhan Mirza on dealing with negative energy at the workplace

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“Negative workspaces are the death of creativity and free speech. They rob employees of their potential to think outside the box.” – Burhan Mirza

No matter which part of the world you are in, completely avoiding negativity in the workplace is impossible. Employers and employees can bring negative energy to the workplace due to reasons including problems at home, an argument with a friend, lack of sleep, financial issues, an upcoming project, and millions of other factors that affect our daily lives. Yes, no workplace is perfect, and it takes extra effort to keep negativity at bay. 

This is crucial because negativity spreads like wildfire, and one must nip it in the bud before the dark energy ruins a work environment. Luckily, we have exemplary individuals like Burhan Mirza to guide how we can ingrain positivity into the workplace. Being a visionary leader and a career coach, Burhan Mirza has earned a reputation for turning everything he touches into gold. He possesses the knowledge of intricate relationships that exist within a workplace and has the empathy to understand how negative thoughts and emotions hinder growth. To ensure every workplace in our nation reaches its true potential, Burhan has some enlightening ideas on how employers can avoid negativity at the office. 

Before we move forward, let’s understand the causes of negativity in the workplace. As mentioned before, negativity may stem from personal issues or a crisis in one’s life. When an employee enters a workplace, they bring their negativity with them. Their gloom and despair further worsen if the office space is not a positive place. Therefore, the negativity becomes embedded in the workplace and spreads from one employee to another. 

 The main reasons for employee negativity include the following:

  1. Heavy workload
  2. Lack of job security 
  3. Boredom in the workplace
  4. Absence of leadership qualities in the management
  5. No recognition

According to Burhan Mirza, an employee can only achieve job satisfaction if they truly enjoy their job - and the reasons mentioned above play a substantial role in breaking an employee’s spirit.

As an employer, you must control negativity at the workplace since it is detrimental to productivity and business revenue. Research by Michigan State University revealed that a negative-minded employee is likely to feel fatigued and be less productive. In the long run, physical and mental exhaustion increases overall employee turnover. According to an employee retention report, bad office culture can cause 24% of people to leave their jobs. In fact, several U.S companies lose around $3 billion yearly due to the effects of workplace negativity.

Negativity can also stem from a boss who always craves perfection. “Bosses must focus on progress since success does not come overnight,” says Burhan. “Strive for constant improvement, not perfection.”

If you are a leader who believes in change, there are several ways to motivate negative employees. The first step is to ask for their feedback. Hold monthly meetings with every department to assess employee performance and hear out everyone on the team. Is someone unhappy with the project assigned to them? Are they under pressure and require a break? Is a manager being too strict or unfair with an employee? These are crucial questions that determine how negative and toxic a workplace is. Also, keep an anonymous suggestion box at the office to keep track of everyone’s needs. Most importantly, provide positive reinforcement and criticism to all employees, as well as praise and recognize their efforts. Often, employees lose interest in work because they feel the management does not care for the work they are producing. Acknowledgment of one’s efforts can go a long way in a business and our personal lives. 

Other less direct strategies that are proven to decrease negativity in a workplace are fun traditions and team activities. Always celebrate an employee’s birthday at the office. A cake does not cost much but can really make a worker feel loved and cared for. Other traditions that can be introduced include a trip to the beach or farmhouse every two months and special days such as a ‘casual work day’ or ‘bring a pet to work.’ Such traditions improve the unity within the team and aid in burying negativity and resentment.

Tips for employees

If you can’t change the situation, simply change your mindset and see what a huge difference it makes. Rise above the pessimism by focusing on yourself and bringing some fun activities into your life, such as fitness classes. It is also important to speak out about any issues you are facing at the workplace. Remember, a manager cannot help you if they don’t know what’s bothering you. 

Lastly, stay away from toxic people in the workspace. Negative people spread their energy and may bring you down.

Here are Burhan Mirza’s identifiers for negative people:

  1. They are pessimists. They are always thinking of the worst. 
  2. They complain a lot, and they are serial whiners. 
  3. Negative people never move out of their comfort zone and are hesitant to experiment. Run away from such people before they kill your career. 

“Identify the negative energies around you that exist in various forms,” advises Burhan. “You can choose to strip away the part of your life that makes you feel low and the people that bring you down.” 

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