Published September 23, 2013
There are few things that get under employees' skin more than "Debbie Downer" co-workers, new research shows.
A study by leadership development training company Fierce Inc. revealed that negativity trumps gossiping, laziness and passive-aggressiveness as the most detrimental trait a co-worker can exhibit. Overall, nearly 80 percent of employees view a negative attitude — identified as the key trait of a toxic employee — as extremely debilitating to team morale.
The research also shows that employees and management disagree on how to best handle negative-minded employees. More than 60 percent of employees opt to confront toxic co-workers, but 78 percent claim their companies are at least somewhat tolerant of colleagues with negative attitudes.
"Negativity leads to reduced productivity and engagement, and allowing it to fester is much more costly and damaging to an organization's bottom line than confronting or possibly replacing a single toxic employee," said Halley Bock, CEO and president of Fierce Inc. "Organizations must foster employee- and company-level accountability by addressing attitudinal issues as soon as they arise."
Fierce recommends three communication tips for preventing negative attitudes at the office, and for handling someone who has become a toxic employee:
The study was based on surveys of more than 1,000 executives and employees in multiple fields, including health care, retail, manufacturing, education and financial services.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.