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Dealing With Negative Co-Workers

When you’re in the workforce, you come across many different types of people. Although many of the people you interact with are positive, there are times you come across someone with a negative attitude. There can be many reasons as to why they are so negative, they may not like their boss, jobs, or co-workers. You can also experience times when someone who is often positive, may become negative.

The fact is that a negative coworker’s attitude can be contagious, so it is important that you take note of their attitude and try to avoid adapting it.

In this post, we will detail ways to deal with the various types of negative people in the workplace.

Dealing with people who are occasionally negative

Listen

By listening to them you make them feel as if their opinions have been heard out. Sometimes people will only continue to be negative as they feel that people haven’t listened or made an effort to understand. You should ask them questions and to clarify what their saying so that they feel you have really listened.

Identify their cause

Some negative people who complain want genuine help, whilst others just want to feel listened to. When listening to your co-worker, identify which category their complaints would be placed under.

Taking action

If you find that their complaints are legitimate, offer to help them solve their issue. If they do, offer them some advice or ideas for fixing the problem. However, if you find that your co-worker just wishes to complain and not address the situation, set clear limits of what you are willing to listen to. Negativity is contagious, so it is important that you limit yourself to its exposure to ensure that you energy and positive outlook keeps intact.

If you find that you do not agree with any of your co-workers complaints demonstrate personal courage, identify that your care about them, but voice your concerns.

Dealing with people who are negative all the time

Avoid contact

Avoid spending prolonged amount of time with them.

Set limits

Set limits when you cannot avoid the negative person (e.g your role in the company has you work closely with them). Do not take part in negative discussions, voice your concerns, and make it clear you refer positivity, do not provide sympathy for them.

Speak out

Voice your concerns with their prolonged negativity and suggest that they seek assistance.

Seek assistance

If none of the above actions help your cause, approach your supervisor or human resources staff about your issues with the negative person. They will offer you support, advice, and if all else fails, may intervene in the situation.

Dealing with a negative co-worker is hard, but what’s harder is having to deal with the emotions pushed on your because of their problems. Take action to ensure their attitudes don’t effect your productivity.

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About the Author: Fiona Lang

Fiona Lang
Fiona Lang is an experienced human resources consultant, line manager and financial controller. She has designed and delivered feedback, training and development programs for organisations in the government, non-profit and corporate sectors. She has worked across Australia in management positions for ANZ bank, Citibank and the National Australia Bank Group. She holds a B.A. (Psychology) and Dip.FP.

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