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What Is 'Toxic Positivity' and Why Is It Bad for the Workplace? Responding to drama with false reassurances breeds low morale.

By Anima Sahu Edited by Bill Schulz

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Toxic positivity simply means extreme positive thinking that leads to the masking of real life problems.

In a workplace, showing negative emotions is considered verboten. As a result, everyone tends to be on their best behavioral facade.

When a leader, who people look up to, pushes their positive mindset on others? It will turn ugly, because employees will feel uncomfortable sharing problems that need to be addressed.

Resolving the issues that are causing negative sentiments in the team is the only alternative for promoting emotional wellbeing.

Here's how leaders can avoid this production-depleting issue...

Related: Top Signs of a Toxic Workplace and How to Deal

Listen to feedback

If leaders want unbiased in-house reviews, they need to build a healthy relationship with their workers. It is human behavior to hide any negative thoughts because they don't want to seem weak and vulnerable. A good boss will provide an environment where people are okay to lose this positive facade and share their vulnerabilities.

Embrace empathy

Should employees share financial difficulties or ask for a raise? An owners shouldn't blame the market and ask them to be thankful that they have a job. Instead they should be transparent. If a bosses believes a hike in pay is warranted, they should get it. If they think otherwise, share thoughts and be compassionate.
Related: Workplace Culture Doesn't Matter. Until It Does.

Avoid aggressive positivity

Instead of saying "let's keep the problems aside and have complete focus on achieving our targets"? Modify it to: "Our goals are important to all of us, but if you feel there are any issues that need to be addressed, so we can reach our ideals, please share it. Let's discuss and find solutions."

Final thoughts

Toxic positivity at the workplace can full-on affect productivity. Instead of undermining the issues that an employee is facing, it is always a better to try and resolve it. Listen to the feedback, acknowledge the problems, be compassionate, provide solutions and maintain trust.
Related: 7 tips for handling toxic people at work

Anima Sahu


Anima Sahu is a writer and engineer. When she isn’t focused on solving bugs or writing, she’s mostly reading, painting or playing with her little one. Her blog focuses on personal development and wellness.

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