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As the UAE steps up its drive to promote happiness, residents in the country have been urged to ''fight off negativity'' in the workplace.
A report in the latest issue of the 999 magazine, the official monthly publication of the Ministry of Interior, puts a spotlight on the ''serious impact'' of spreading rumours, including gossips and other forms of negativity.
The report implies that negative conversations, or employees who constantly give out negative vibes, can do some damage to an organisation, as pessimism can quickly infect others and eat away at productivity.
''It's high time that people and companies realise that negativity would cripple any organisation. The UAE has strict laws and stiff penalties against spreading rumours and creating panic in the community, and companies should apply the same pattern in the workplace,'' said Lt. Col. Awadh Saleh Al Kindi, Editor-in-Chief of 999.
''Office gossips, for instance, should never be tolerated because aside from causing distress to a person being talked about, it lowers the morale of the whole organisation to a great extent.''
The report came on the heels of the launch of a government-backed campaign that seeks to foster happiness among residents in the UAE.
The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai had earlier dismissed ''rumours'' that some UAE residents or companies have been penalised for making negati6ve comments about the economy. ''No entity is empowered to act against expressing such opinions nor any violation involved in such comments,'' the DED said in a statement.
The DED, however, encouraged the public not to pay attention to unconfirmed reports and hearsay, saying that any information about the country's economy should come from the authorities.
Other studies also show that spreading rumours is one of the major productivity killers in the office.
In a study conducted by CareerBuilder among 2,138 hiring managers and human resource professionals and more than 3,000 private employees in the United States, it was found that nearly half (42 per cent) of employers pointed to gossip as the leading culprit behind unproductive activity at work.
According to the 999 report, negative people, such as those who are grumpy, bossy, lazy and have the habit of spreading gossips can hurt a team's overall productivity and adversely influence work performance, decision-making and creativity, among others. ''Worse, those most impacted by negativity may find stress creeping into their family life.''
''While it is necessary to weed out the bad apples, it is more important to get to the bottom of the issue and understand how some people develop such unpleasant traits,'' said Al Kindi.
''Don't let people throw a dark cloud of negativism hanging over your head. It is important that we identify these naysayers amongst us and learn to deal with them; failing to do so can have a serious impact on our productivity at work or even relationships at home.''
The 999 report also attempts to find out the causes of negative behavior among people. It suggests that a person's negative behavior may have something to do with family upbringing, family circumstances or natural disposition.
''Children who are brought up in socioeconomically and financially balanced and stable families, will be themselves balanced, and will positively affect their surroundings when they grow up,'' said Dr Moza Ghobash, professor of sociology and chairperson of the Rewaq Ousha bint Hussain Cultural Society.
Whatever a person's dominant character trait, it may become exaggerated under pressure, according to Human Development adviser Abdullah Said bin Shamma.
''For example, if he's originally an introvert, he'll be more passive and reclusive. If he's highly self-confident, he'll tend to express himself in a louder voice and in a more aggressive way,'' Shamma also said.
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Source: Cleofe Maceda, Senior Web Reporter, gulfnews.com