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Having a Bad Day?

red ball with a sad face in a sea of white balls with happy faces

Research shows that bad or negative interactions with bosses and co-workers can have as much as five times the negative influence on you as positive interactions.  When you are trying to do excellent work, build a team, or start a new project, the negative trumps the positive. 

What can you do about it?

Eliminating the destructive behaviors, thinking and attitudes clears the way for excellence to grow and move forward (this works in your personal life too).  Here are some simple strategies that you can use to be more productive, help your co-workers and make things better for yourself and everyone around you. 

  1. Stop it when it starts—take action when you observe the first negative action or idea.  These things build on themselves.  It’s easier to stop destructive behaviors in the beginning.
  2. Focus on the little things—this will get people moving.  Keep yourself and others focused on the task at hand.  Grand standing and pontificating about values and excellence is of little value when battling destructive behaviors and thinking.
  3. Make it good enough—sometimes good enough is all that is necessary to move forward.  When the bad feelings and thoughts are raining down, get moving toward a target and avoid working on something until its perfect.  Get some momentum going (see number two above).
  4. Pick the respected ones to help—be deliberate about identifying those people who are liked and respected.  They can move people forward and will be heard voicing positive things when others may not have the clout to influence behavior and thinking. 

You can do these four things for yourself and for others.  You can do them as a team member, an individual or as someone in a leadership position.  Even if others don’t follow, your actions will help you feel better, think better and work more productively. 



Theresa M. Glomb, Charles Hulin, and Andrew G. Miner, “Experience sampling mood and its correlates at work,” Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 2005, Volume 78, Number 2, pp. 171–93.

Huggy Rao and Robert Sutton, “Bad to Great: the path to scaling up excellence,” McKinsey Quarterly, February 2014.


Stewart Chason,

Coordinator, Workforce Training