Workplace Negativity: Blast it with 1 rule and 5 steps

The No Complaining Rule

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

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

Jon Gordon, about Workplace Negativity

Organising a workshop is the best way to share and explain it with colleagues. Best to plan two-three hours to have enough time for discussion.

Meeting preparation on how to deal with negativity in the Workplace

One week before the Meeting, ask participants to think about the following:

  • What are the effects of negativity in the workplace?
  • The causes of workplace negativity
  • Examples of negativity in the workplace?
  • How to handle negativity in the workplace?

And watch:

Step 1: Sharing founding about Workplace Negativity

Gather your team and ask them to share their thoughts, facts about Workplace Negativity and reflections 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. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ninety per cent of doctor visits are stress-related, the leading cause of office Stress is coworkers and their complaints, according to
  • The two primary causes of people’s complaints are their feelings of powerlessness & anxiety, as well as it becoming 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 about difficulties and 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 of 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 someone who can resolve the matter if they have a concern or complaint about their work, company, clients, or anything else.
  • However, the team member must also have thought of one or two possible solutions to the complaint and shared that.

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. You could apply one or a mix of these concepts depending on your organisation’s size, culture, kind, and other considerations.

  • Manager. Employees present their concerns and solutions to their management or supervisor, and they will collaborate to find a solution.
  • Executives. Organisational complaints will be submitted to the executive team for consideration, and remedies will be executed quarterly.
  • Complain Guru. One person in the organisation handles complaints and 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 and 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 session. Bring your complaint and 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: Other tools to help to remove Workplace Negativity

Share these 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 highlight their errors to help them improve but offer 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 you are most proud of. 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 cannot 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 remind you 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 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 volunteers to summarise what they discussed.

Take a Walk

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

Participants will talk about the most important facts they learn, what 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 managing Workplace Negativity

Workplace Negativity 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 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.

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. If you like Jon Gordon, read the post about You Win in the Locker Room First.

Don’t miss the next post!

We don’t spam!

Passionate about transmission of knowledge, its practical use, productivity and collaboration tools

Leave a Reply