Building Trust as a New Supervisor

Have you thought about how negativity damages your business? Here are four ways that negativity in the workplace can impact businesses.

I work in the area of mediation, customer service, and performance Management. Negativity in the workplace is one of those things that can eat away at your business.

1. Negativity creates a Toxic Workplace Culture

Negativity within a team of people creates a toxic workplace culture. When you’ve got a team of people working together, there are always going to be stronger and more dominant personalities. You’re going to often see little cliques and packs that work together.

If you’ve got somebody that has a tendency to be a bit of a bully, the people around them could easily side with them. Consequently, people within the team feel they have to take a side based on their personal values and opinions. Even if they don’t want to, they may find themselves just falling into that habit. People get roped into the behavior, the gossip, and the opinions and they find themselves having to take sides.

This can often mean they’re taking sides without knowing the full story, and this is how easy it can be for bullying to escalate within a workplace. It is no longer just not one person, but collectively it becomes a group of people that may be all against one person within a team. When that happens, a situation has escalated to now require a higher level of performance management. It may even require mediation. If negativity is left to fester and breed amongst a team of people, it can get out of control.

2. A negative workplace creates paranoia

When people start to become negative, or they’re picking up on the negativity, they start to get paranoid about their ability. They may wonder, who’s talking about them and what is going on without them because of their lack of competency. It’s hard to stay motivated or confident in your abilities, when people are constantly negative about your work.

A paranoid team member will start to second guess themselves. They’ll be less confident to take decisive action or work autonomously. The flow on effect of that is a decrease in productivity and greater risk or error.

3. A negative Workplaces decrease productivity

When there’s negativity within your business, people are less likely to speak up for fear of being judged, criticized, put down, or knocked back. If there’s a negative space where people can’t contribute their ideas, then they will be less likely to raise alarm bells or make constructive criticism. This inevitably limits the growth and development of not only the employee but the business as well. When negativity grows, productivity decreases.

People won’t speak up. They won’t feel comfortable speaking up. If things are wrong or things could be better, they won’t be spoken about.

4. Customers can pick up on a Negative Workplace Culture

Ultimately, the thing that are going to impact your business with negativity is your customers and your clients. If you’ve got a negative workplace culture, don’t assume that your clients and customers won’t pick up on it and that it won’t affect your customer service.

If your team don’t feel confident and secure, then they’re not going to speak, act or behave with confidence towards your customers and your clients. They’re just tiny little things, but the long-term effects are detrimental if you don’t address that culture.

If I use the analogy of smoking just one cigarette here, there’s not going to have an impact, but if I smoke three or more cigarettes a day over an extended period of time, then it’s detrimental to my health. Not dissimilarly negativity is just like a toxin that’s constantly being entered into the culture of the workplace, and it has long-term harmful effects.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What impact has negativity had on your business or when have you recognized that you’ve been in a toxic work environment?

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About the Author

Barbara Clifford - The Time Tamer
Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a co-founder of The Hinwood Institute. She is the lead trainer and coach in Time Management. She is a recognized leader in Stress Management. An experienced coach, speaker, columnist and facilitator, Barbara’s work with The Hinwood Institute assists people to unclutter mess, make order from chaos, and swap the shackles of overwhelming for freedom. Barbara’s clients move from the relentless hamster wheel to waking inspired, motivated, making decisions with purpose and achieving peak performance. She lives in the desert of Alice Springs, Australia working with people around the country. Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships


  • Let your team contribute their ideas.


  • Side with the bully.
  • Assume that your clients and customers won’t pick up on a negative workplace culture.