One rule and 5 steps for minimising Workplace Negativity

The No Complaining Rule The No Complaining Rule

Nothing affects employee morale more deeply than permanent Workplace Negativity. It decreases the vitality of your company and diverts crucial energy away from productivity and results. One department member’s attitude, perspective, and speech might be negative, as can a chorus of voices reacting to a decision or incident at work. Jon Gordon, in his book The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work, proposes a simple rule to remove negativity.

One person can’t make the team, but one person can break a team.

Jon Gordon

The best way to share and explain it with colleagues is to gather them. Best to plan two hours to have enough time for discussion.

Meeting preparation on how to remove Workplace Negativity

One week before the meeting, ask to participants to search in internet:

  • An interesting quote about negativity
  • What are the effects of negativity, and stress at the workplace

And watch:

Step 1: Sharing founding

Gather your team and ask them to share their favourite quote, facts about negativity and thoughts about the video. Discuss why people are complaining.


  • The following are connected to negative emotions: Shorter life expectancy and mortality, Higher risk of heart attack, Increased stroke risk, less energy, and increased stress. Ninety per cent of doctor visits are stress related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the main cause of office Stress is coworkers and their complaining, according to
  • The two primary causes of people’s complaints are their feelings of powerlessness & anxiety, as well as it becomes a habit.

Step 2: Justified Complaining versus Mindless Complaining

Ask who could explain the difference between mindless complaining and justified complaining.

Justified complaining is the antithesis of mindless complaining. The former is harmful, whereas the latter is helpful. The distinction is in purpose. When you complain mindlessly, you moan mindlessly about difficulties, and you contribute to Workplace Negativity. When you complain legitimately, you recognise a problem and start toward a solution.

Every complaint represents an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive.

Jon Gordon

Mindless complaining focuses on problems, whereas justified complaining focuses on solutions.

Time for discussion!

  • Discuss the differences between the two types of complaints.
  • Ask to give examples about justified complaining versus mindless complaining
  • Discuss the benefits to an organisation or team that is solution focused instead of problem-focused.

Time for a 10-minute break!

Step 3: The No Complaining Rule

The purpose is not to limit communication. On the contrary, it encourages constructive feedback and quality exchange within the organisation.

The No Complaining Rule:

  • It is not acceptable for people to carelessly complain to their team members and/or coworkers. They are urged to speak with their manager or a person who can resolve the matter if they have a concern or complaint about their work, their company, their clients, or anything else.
  • However, the team member must also have thought of one or two possible solutions to the complaint and share that as well.

Time for discussion!

Ask what the thoughts of each participant are? How it can help to remove Workplace Negativity.

Step 4: Implementation

Identify, and share your Complaint & Solution Process. Depending on your organization’s size, culture, kind, and other considerations, you could apply one or a mix of all of these concepts.

  • Manager. employees present their concerns and solutions to their management or supervisor, and they will collaborate to find a solution.
  • Executives. Organizational complaints will be submitted to the executive team for consideration, and remedies will be executed on a quarterly basis.
  • Complain Guru. One person in the organisation handles complaints, solutions and works with supervisors and/or team members to put ideas into practice
  • Online. Dedicate app, Intranet page or email as where staff members may post, send their issues and solutions.
  • The Classic Innovation Box. Where people put their grievances and ideas that they have come up with on pieces of paper.
  • Regular brainstorming cession. Bring your complaint, solutions and other employee helps to get even more solutions.

A physical or online Kanban board is a nice way to show raised problems and solutions proposed and implemented.

Workplace Negativity - Out

Time for a 10-minute break!

Step 5: Others tools to help to remove Workplace Negativity

Share theses tools with participants tools for the office and home

5 Things to Do Instead of Complain

  1. Show your gratitude. You cannot be negative if your attention is on being grateful.
  2. Give Others Praise. Start concentrating on what others are doing right instead of whining about what they are doing wrong. Praise them and see how doing so leads to greater achievement. Of course, you should point out their errors to help them improve, but be sure to offer considerably more praise than criticism.
  3. Concentrate on Success. Keep a success diary. Write down one wonderful memory from each day before you go to bed. The one outstanding encounter, triumph, or achievement of which you are most proud. You’ll look forward to producing more success tomorrow if you keep your attention on your successes.
  4. Pay attention to the things you can influence and let go of the things you are unable to change. When you quit attempting to control everything, you’ll be astounded at how well everything turns out.
  5. The But Positive Technique. Simply add the phrase but followed by a constructive thought or activity when you realise you are complaining.

Posters Everywhere

Place SOLUTIONS WANTED, NO COMPLAINING and STAY POSITIVE posters in your office, home, or locker room.

The Complaining Fast

  • Step 1, you do a No Complaining Day. It is called complaining fast. It’s fantastic because it makes you aware of how pessimistic you actually are by making you monitor your thoughts. Begin with a day, then take a week and then a year.
  • Step 2, listen to your negative thoughts. Let your complaints serve as a reminder of what you don’t want so that you may concentrate on what you do want. Every complaint is an opportunity to make something negative into something good.

Let your complaints about problems move you to solutions

Jon Gordon

Ending the Meeting on how to remove Workplace Negativity

To close your meeting and discussions, I propose you use one of the activities below. Not mandatory, of course, but a simple activity can help you to confirm how your session went.

Where Do You Stand?

This is a physically active evaluation strategy. Explain that three areas of the room represent three levels of acceptance and understanding:

  • One side: Not yet there
  • The middle: On the way
  • The opposite: Ready, fully on board.

Ask learners to think about the meeting and assess their level of readiness to use what they’ve learned and discussed. Instruct them to move to the part of the room that represents their readiness. Once they have chosen where to stand, participants, form standing pairs/triads and answer the following questions:

  • If you are standing at the “Not yet there” side, what will it take for you to be able to move to “on the way”?
  • If you are standing at the “on the way” area, what will it take for you to be able to move to “Ready, fully on board”?
  • If you are standing at the “Ready, fully on board” side, what will it take to keep you there?

Allow about five minutes for the pair/triad discussion, then ask for volunteers to summarise what they discussed.

Take a Walk

Tell participants to form standing pairs or triads. Tell them they will do a walk around the room or, even better, outside and back. In the first half of their journey, one person talks, and the other listens. The listener becomes the talk in the second half of the journey.

Participants will be talking about the most important facts they learn, they like or dislike, questions they have, or a topic-related problem they want help with.

When back in the room, ask the whole group what they felt was the most important lesson learned from the walk/exercise.

Next Steps

When you see positive effects and less Workplace Negativity, I encourage you to work on:

  1. Be an Ideal Team Player. For your team and you
  2. To develop a high-performance team.

Conclusion on how to remove Workplace Negativity

Negativity in the workplace is a serious problem that can have a serious financial impact on your company. It may lower staff morale and decrease their energy. Dealing with demotivated and disgruntled workers is stressful, as the negativity slowly permeates from one worker to another.

Celebrate successes and achievements. Recognise them and tell the organisation whole about their accomplishments. More success stories will be inspired if individuals and the process are highlighted. Do this now rather than waiting for the annual review. Do this consistently over the whole year through meetings, conference calls, online postings, and email.

The No Complaining Rule
The No Complaining Rule

Listen, Hear and Act. Your employees must be heard and considered for their concerns and solutions for the No Complaining rule to be successful. Their solutions don’t necessarily have to be acted upon, but they will want to know that their ideas were considered. Therefore, it is imperative that your company address issues, think about solutions, and take appropriate action.

I hope that this post will help you avoid this negativity and create a joyful, effective, and pleasant work atmosphere. Do you want to know more? Read Jon Gordon’s book The No Complaining Rule: Positive Ways to Deal with Negativity at Work or send me a message dg@davidgousset

Remember that the best way to combat workplace negativity is to keep it from occurring in the first place. David Gousset

For tips on preparing, engaging and valuable sessions with colleagues, consult How to realise effective training. You like Jon Gordon, reas the post about You Win in the Locker Room First.