How to Stay Positive in a Negative Work Environment

Every day when you wake up and head to work, the primary goal is optimizing productivity. But achieving high productivity requires good leadership and support that are not always available. Sometimes, the workplace environment is negative or toxic.

A negative work environment suppresses you in all aspects and could easily pull down your productivity and even career. You cannot sit back and watch the toxic environment ruin your career and life. In this post, I explore the main strategies that you can use to stay positive in a negative environment.

Signs that You are in a Negative Work Environment

Before you can start working on the strategies to use, it is prudent to understand what a negative work environment is. A negative workplace means a job environment where your roles, atmosphere, colleagues, or a combination of all of them cause major disruptions to other areas of your life.

If thoughts of going to work easily make you feel depressed or tired, it is an indication that your workplace is negative or toxic. Here are other signs that indicate you are in a toxic work environment:

  • Workplace sickness because of burnout or high level of stress. You are likely to be calling in sick or working when feeling unwell.
  • Lack of enthusiasm. If you are unhappy about your workplace, the chances are that the system and people are making it difficult to operate effectively.
  • Lack of communication. When you do not get the right information about your work, chances are that you are not appreciated. You might be worried that this could result in negative feedback or even dismissal.
  • Dictatorial leadership. When your leaders demand that their word must be followed and have no room for suggestions, improvements, or additions, the workplace becomes toxic. You will simply be working to follow instructions but not to get the best for the organization.
  • Rumors and gossips. When employees do not get along well, things degenerate into rumors and gossips. This could result in infighting and conflicts that negatively affect your productivity.

Strategies for Staying Positive in a Negative Environment

When your workplace environment is negative, the truth is that changing everything into a positive atmosphere is never easy. In many cases, it takes some time before the situation changes into an impressive workplace. Therefore, you cannot let the negative environment define you. Here are some proven strategies for staying positive in a toxic environment:

  1.      Surround Yourself with Positive People

Though the workplace is negative, having positive people around you is very important to get you through the difficult phase. These could be friends at the workplace who believe in doing things right, your church leadership, or family members.

  1.      Note the Great Things that You are Grateful About

Though the workplace is toxic and you really feel it is the lowest mark in your life, it is important to appreciate great things about it. Think of the award that you won in the department, the recognition you got for exemplary work, great friends, and a unique department.

Go ahead and prepare a journal, and share with people who are close to you. This will inspire confidence in others so that they can also get onboard. Well, you could be the light that will ultimately shine and change the negative environment into a positive one.

  1.      Identify the Problem and Commit to Identifying a Solution

The fact that you feel the workplace is negative is an indication that a solution is needed. Where will the solution come from? If you love your workplace and want it to be better, you need to take the initiative of getting a solution.

Think of a creative way to address the problem at hand and making your workplace a great place. For example, you could approach the leadership of your organization and place forward suggestions. You could also reach out to your colleagues and express the need to change how things are at your workplace. The effort you make will go a long way to improving the workplace.

  1.      Learn to Take Criticism Positively

The criticism that has made you feel bad and disconnected from the workplace could be the stepping stone for personal improvement. All that you need might be a positive approach to criticism. Avoid replying to criticism right away in order to think through it before taking action. If you use the criticism to foster personal development, there is a high chance that the entire toxic scenario will leave you a better person.

  1.      Make the Negative Environment a Point of Self-discovery

One thing you need to appreciate is that there is always room for personal improvement. Take the current scenario as part of life and use it to prepare for success. As others see problems, this is your time to identify opportunities. For example, you should consider developing and using conflict solving skills that could become central in your next level of career.


If you are in a negative work environment, it could easily pull down your productivity or kill your career. But it does not have to be this way. You can live positively in a negative environment by looking at the opportunities therein. Indeed, you could even emerge a better person by taking a personal initiative to address the problem and learning new skills.