There is interesting research about the impact of negativity in the workplace. Regularly negative people significantly reduce productivity and creativity of those who work with them.
Which leads to the question: Who is the most negative person you deal with regularly?
If you are like most small business or non-profit leaders, you do have someone in your organization or on your Board who is consistently negative. S/he might be someone with a classic negative reaction to all change or a personality that sees their world through dark lenses. We are not talking about those who sometimes offer negative opinions or are realistically reacting to tough situations. We are talking about consistently ‘negative nellies.’
Some negativity is useful. Such people can provide a realistic voice in many discussions. They serve as a check on those of us who have a ton of new ideas but no filters. They may be a part of your unspoken ‘risk management’ process even.
Still a consistently negative person, no matter how good they otherwise are at their role, takes a toll on those around them. And they infect others with negative responses. You must assess whether their value outweighs those aspects. And think quite clearly about how they influence or impact your own leadership.
Could you reduce or eliminate dealing with this person? Is it worth a frank discussion or is this behavior so consistent that perhaps replacing this person to save the rest of your organization is really needed?