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Do You Have a Debbie Downer in Your Team?

Do You Have a Debbie Downer in Your Team?

We have all met someone who often responds to every little thing with ‘That won’t work,’ ‘It can’t be done,’ or worse. Hopefully, you don’t have such a person on your team, but what if you did? Being in the same room with them can quickly become draining and crush the enthusiasm of everyone else. How do you tackle a pessimist without letting their bad attitude harm your team and business?

Consistent negativity is often hidden behind complex factors at work. When a team member feels exhausted and unappreciated, they may turn negative, even if they were once a star. Personal problems, like money issues or family matters, can also be very tough, leading a usually happy person to use negativity as a way to cope.

Persistent workplace conflicts can also fuel the growth of negativity. Instead of openly discussing problems, employees might resort to passive-aggressive behaviors. Negativity doesn’t only impact meetings; it can also become a part of your team’s everyday behavior. This can make your team members feel drained, disengaged, and frustrated.

Even if you don’t currently sense this to be an issue, utilizing the following 7 steps will help nurture a positive team culture.

1- One-on-ones: Every team member should have the opportunity to have a heart-to-heart conversation with their superior regularly. If you have a small team, this could be you, the business owner. Listen carefully and show empathy.

2- Constructive Feedback: Identify specific negative behaviors, explain how they affect the rest of the team, and provide alternative solutions

3- Communicate Expectations: Define expected behavior, emphasizing the necessary ingredients for each interaction, including respect and open-mindedness.

4- Promote Self-Reflection: Encourage self-evaluation and the development of skills to understand and manage feelings. Provide examples and stay humble to give others an opportunity to lower their defenses.

5- Intervene & Redirect: In meetings, steer the conversation towards finding solutions and away from negative waters. Encourage people who contribute to this effort.

6- Celebrate Positivity: Express appreciation and gratitude among the team by recognizing achievements and shifts to positivity when they happen

7- Stay Engaged: Check on progress regularly, praise everyone for their efforts, and keep a positive attitude even when faced with setbacks.

Dealing with negativity isn’t just about making everyone get along. It’s a smart choice. In a happy workplace, teams come together, conversations go well, and new ideas come up. Meetings that stay on track and stay positive save time and resources, improving productivity. Team members who feel valued and have a positive outlook about their jobs tend to stick around and support a successful culture.

Stay positive until I see you next week,


– Burak Sarac, Team Lead

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