Earn the trust of the team and then gradually, negativity disappears

The key to understanding is what is considered “negativity “? Certain mannerisms, body language, and vocal comments can be interpreted as negativity but also this depends on the person doing the interpretation.

In the workplace, we all have individuals who are unique in their own way. With this also comes various personalities and what some deem as negativity others may call it a reality. Another aspect to consider is when different cultures come together the normal behaviour of one culture v another could also show differences which could be interpreted as negativity. In short, it is important to identify true negativity v a biased interpretation of negativity. Different thoughts/ideas/ways of working etc do not equate to negativity.

The key is once “true negativity” is identified to understand the reason behind it. In my experience, it is always to important to look at it from that person’s view. It could be due to historical experiences, certain environments, change and ambiguity. The root cause is important as this helps to take the individual/ team on the journey.

The world we know is not perfect, and there are a lot of obstacles we face regularly. As leaders, I believe our role, in addition to being motivating and inspirational, is to be also honest. Honesty is saying that sometimes things are not great, and yes, we all have negativity in some form or other in certain times/periods of our lives. That is being human. Teams respect the human leader rather than a drone.

Similarly, when managing a team, it’s important you cater to the individual’s needs and views. Life is a journey, and sometimes different people take that pace at different times. To get people on the bus sooner, it is key to spend time explaining the reason for the journey, end result in a group and individual forum. The messaging cannot be rushed as the investment taken to get the message across will eventually pay dividends in getting the full team on the bus sooner, which means the final result is a success.

As a leader, I believe in trust and openness, and this comes with honesty. In my career, this has been key. Earn the trust of the team and then gradually, negativity disappears. What initially was deemed as negativity becomes a different outlook and hence an asset in the decision-making process.

Key takeaways:
  • Understand the individuals in the team, their personalities, their culture and their outlook in life due to experiences they may have faced.
  • It is key to spend time with individuals regularly and get them on the journey and not rush things
  • always be open and honest and gain trust and respect on the way
  • Negativity is due to many reasons and no one is always positive
  • Make negativity an asset in terms of a sense check/soundboard

Tush Wijeratne

EMEA Head of Talent Acquisition @ GroupM

About the author: Tush Wijeratne
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