A few years ago, Towers Perrin (now Towers Watson) and researchers Gang & Gang interviewed employees and discovered the five main causes of employee negativity. A number of these are factors that come up repeatedly when readers talk about why their bosses are bad. Nip these in the bud to discourage a negative workplace:

• An excessive workload;

• Concerns about management's ability to lead the company forward successfully;

• Anxiety about the future, particular longer-term job, income and retirement security;

• Lack of challenge in their work, with boredom intensifying existing frustration about workload; and

• Insufficient recognition for the level of contribution and effort provided, and concerns that pay isn't commensurate with performance.