What to Say When: A Co-Worker is Negative

Why are some people negative? While negativity doesn’t usually lead to any financial reward or promotion, there is a social reward that negative people seek out. Specifically, once a negative atmosphere has been established, a person can be seen as popular if they contribute to that atmosphere. The problem with negativity is it spreads like wildfire and can bring down morale and productivity. So what do you do when a co-worker is negative? Telling the negative person they are negative isn’t the answer. This course illustrates a communication strategy to isolate the negativity. Use this course to learn how to quickly and effectively put out the fire of negativity before it spreads throughout your organization. 


This course is part of the What To Say When series on workplace communication. Use the courses in this series to help solve specific workplace issues, whether you are a manager remediating a situation or an individual trying to deal with a problem. These short vignettes present common communication dilemmas in the workplace. Human Resource expert Hugh Murray shares communication strategies and tactics for navigating these situations.


Each vignette features narrative examples for employees to see the wrong and right way to handle a problem, and ends with a short assessment to measure learner comprehension. Each course also includes a leader guide and a downloadable “key points” document to help you remember the communication strategy. These courses make for great training on their own, or used as a series.