You've been dealing with him for years and just don't know how to handle him any longer. You avoid him in the office as much as possible and you only talk to him when you absolutely must. Spend more than 5 minutes with him and you start to feel a bit sad. After 10 minutes of working on a project with him, he's got you downright angry or worse, depressed. Nothing is good enough, fast enough, well managed enough or correct enough to make the work feel good for him. He's never happy, always complaining, overworked, underpaid and given too much responsibility, but not enough power to make decisions. If he actually has a situation where he needs to communicate with a customer, run for cover. Of course, I am talking about the office negative guy. He's a walking Eeyore with his "Woe is me," mentality. Except for Christmas day, he's the Grinch the other 364 days of the year, and he perpetually has a dust cloud of negative emotions around him. To add fuel to the fire, he gives you the blahs, blues and makes you feel blech!
He gets his work done, but not without drama, and we all know negativity, office politics and drama can suck the positive out of office culture faster than you can say "You're a mean one Mr. Grinch." So how do you deal with all the negativity that he projects? Here are some tips to help you deal with the sore spot in the office.
- Spend as little time with him (or her) as you can. If a project includes you and the negative person, do your best to focus just on the project and nothing else.
- Do not allow yourself to be pulled into a negative conversation. Tell your coworker you prefer to talk about the positive aspects of the job. I realize it's challenging not to listen to someone as they complain, but your best defense truly is a positive offense. Remain positive and remark about the great things that the company has to offer.
- It should go without saying but, socializing, outside of the workplace, is not a good idea. The negative co worker may feel you are aligning with him, further giving him an opportunity to draw you into the stickin' thinkin'.
- Under no circumstances should you agree with his negative comments, even if you agree in principle. The best person to discuss negative aspects of your job, project, team member, etc. is your manager or boss. Also, sympathizing with a negative co worker is providing him an audience to dump his negative. If you do not like part of your job, you have three choices: A) Deal with it. B) Determine a new way to make it work. C) Get out. Complaining about it will only make it worse and you should never bring this up with someone that is already negative. They only have one direction, and that's straight to Negativille.
- If a conversation that starts positive turns negative (which may happen), resist the temptation to "climb on board" with your co worker. Conversations about light hearted topics like office birthday cake can quickly turn into office politics including taking time out to celebrate when so much work has to be done. Stay on track and keep your positive conversations positive.
- If you find the negative co worker draws you into negative water cooler conversation or office politics and they routinely are directing negative energy towards you, have a discussion with someone that has authority over him to put a stop to it.
A point worth mentioning from personal experience, some people do not even realize they are being negative. They were either raised in an environment where everything was negative or they have a personality that sees the glass as half empty all the time. It is important to set a proper example and remain positive. Consistently providing positive feedback may eventually break the negative chain although it is not up to you to change him.
Stay positive, upbeat and out the way of negativity. It is important that you keep your eye on all of the great things you are accomplishing and stay focused on the positive aspects of the work that you do. Let Eeyore stay in the Winnie the Pooh tales, as you stay on track writing your own positively awesome story.
What tactics do you use in avoiding the Dark Side at work? I'd love to hear from you. Please share this blog on your favorite social media outlet. I appreciate when my message is spread to others. Also please join my weekly readers by signing up for my blog CLICK HERE