Negativity in the workplace is one of those things that creeps in, spreads itself around and has a negative impact on just about every aspect of workplace operations. Most of us have been in a work situation where a coworker’s negativity has drained us of time, energy, and even the ability to focus on the task at hand. It seems every workplace has at least one negative person on staff, and sometimes their attitude is contagious.
If you’re dealing with a negative co-worker, you already know how it can be counterproductive to the work environment. There’s no reason to sit back and let a coworker’s negative attitude sap your energy for your job. Here are 4 effective strategies for dealing with a negative co-worker before their attitude affects your own job performance.
If Possible, Avoid Their Negativity
In some work environments, it’s impossible to escape the clutches of a negative co-worker – for instance, if you work next to them on the line in a manufacturing job or you share a cubicle in an office environment. However, if it’s possible, simply avoiding the person is often the best option, plus it minimizes the risk of confrontation.
Offer Impartial Guidance
The last thing you want to do when dealing with a negative coworker is to let yourself get caught up in their discontent. In most cases, it’s not advisable to even give a nod in agreement because this can fuel their negativity or backfire on you later.
Instead of going along with their negativity, maintain an impartial stance and suggest they speak to human resources or a supervisor who might be able to help with their problem.
Speak Up for Yourself
If a negative coworker tries to bring you into your negativity, being direct and simply stating that you’re not interested in engaging in the conversation gets the point across nicely. Many negative coworkers try to engage others because it creates a feeling of solidarity and makes them feel validated. Letting them know you’re not interested will often stop them in their tracks.
Seek Guidance for Yourself
Workplace negativity can fester beneath the surface, unknown to management. Many employees don’t like the idea of reaching out to management about a negative coworker because they fear it places them in an untrustworthy light, but there are times when this is your best option.
If someone’s negativity is affecting your morale or job performance, you owe it to yourself – and the rest of the team – to speak to someone who has the ability to work on a long-term solution to the problem.
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