gossipComplaints, grievances, nagging, gossip, pessimism, anger and misery. Nothing’s worse than a workplace where co-workers and bosses alike share in these unfortunate traits with one another daily. It affects productivity and, even worse, your outlook on life. The dread we may feel in our gut—knowing what awaits us as we head to work—is enough to ruin not only your day, but also your personal life.

If you are experiencing these very things at work, it means that negative behavior among the office or workplace is caught in a vicious cycle. The good news is that if you are determined to change the atmosphere at work, you can be the spark that sets off an entire new approach to the way co-workers, managers and bosses communicate with each other. You can set the tone for better communication, stronger working relationships and establish a more peaceful working environment that is birthed from knowing how to communicate in a positive and productive manner—and whose method is rooted in the decision to be the change you would like to see in your co-workers.

Here are five simple things that you can do to enlighten and lighten the otherwise dark and dreary atmosphere that has clouded your workplace.


1. Smile

A smile is easy. It is attractive and engaging. It represents happiness. It will make you feel better, too, because smiling lowers blood pressure and releases endorphins into the blood stream which act like pain killers. Smile when you walk in the door, smile at everyone you encounter and smile in the midst of any storm. Whether you realize it or not, people absolutely respond to a smile in a positive way.

“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” –Leo F. Buscaglia


2. Make all gossip and negativity stop at your door

There’s nothing worse than office gossip. No one likes it when others gossip about them. Yet, why does gossip continue to exist? It exists because people wallow in its fervent juices. The only way to end gossip is to not engage in it. If others are gossiping around you. Walk away. Don’t engage. If you hear something unfortunate or unfavorable about someone, don’t repeat it. Instead, only repeat the good things, the happy things and the great accomplishments and you will snuff-out the flame of gossip by removing its target; repetition.

We cannot control the evil tongues of others; but a good life enables us to disregard them. –Cato the Elder


3. Demonstrate interest in your co-worker’s lives

Keep note of and observe the events in your co-worker’s lives that are important to them. Most workers spend more time with their co-workers than with their family. Try to keep track of birthdays, graduations, weddings and any important event in the life of your co-workers and send them a small gift, or choose one of Hallmark’s online birthday cards to offer congratulations. Even stopping by to offer your very best wishes or asking them how an event was for them, will bring out their best and probably evoke a nice smile.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” –William Arthur Ward


4. Be the standard bearer for civility and respect among the workplace

If we wish for stronger morale, better working relationships and more productivity, be the embodiment of all of the positive traits you would hope to see in others. Such things are highly contagious and cause others to do likewise.

“Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies. No ridiculous fears. No debilitating anger.” –Bill Bradley


5. Always recognize the talents, abilities and accomplishments of your co-workers

Many people are fast to criticize, but slow to compliment. Hold back any criticisms and, instead, be the person to always point out a job well done. Everyone needs recognition and doing so will evoke the best out of everyone.

“Appreciation is a wonderful thing. It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.” –Voltaire


BrianHaggertyAbout the Guest Post Author: 

Brian Haggerty wants to bring civility back to the workplace – manners, respect, proper communication, personal pride and presentation – habits and traits that are not yet properly developed in some younger employees and are often forgotten on the road to the executive suite.

As the founder of Brian Haggerty Speaks (www.BrianHaggertySpeaks.com), Haggerty is turning his focus to corporate America.  In his forthcoming book, PUT DOWN THAT CELL PHONE AND LOOK ME IN THE EYE:  Bringing Civility and Respect Back to the Workplace At ALL Levels of Business.

Brian Haggerty is an author, speaker, mentor, and coach.