Culture in the workplace is becoming increasingly more a priority for people in the workforce. We spend a third of our lives at work, so why wouldn’t you want it to be a happy place. Meetings, management, leadership structures and deadlines are all part of many roles. The one aspect you wouldn’t expect to have to overcome is your negative colleagues.
You can spot them a mile away, they are the people that sit in the meetings and have a comeback for every new line of information filtered down to your team. They are the ones that have probably been in the company for far too long and are bitter at the way they have been treated in the corporate world. But mostly they are the people that bring you down as soon as they walk in the room. Their very presence makes your hairs stand on end and your shoulders tense. They can make a sunny day cloudy without any rain in sight.
These people are wonderful on the inside, deep down they just can’t get past their own “ill done by” ideas. Which, in some instances are warranted but these are the people that can’t seem to let go and they will bring you down with them. Unless you are lucky enough to have a job where you work remotely you will inevitably have to see these people every day. Sound like someone in your workplace? Wondering what to do to keep your frame of mind and sanity in check?
Follow these 5 steps and your work days can be filled with more rainbows and jelly beans despite the Grinch over your shoulder.
- Don’t let them into your Bubble
Unless they are your best friend and you can’t live without them, in which case you should be close enough to sit them down for a chat about their negativity and how it’s affecting you. Don’t let them into your bubble. Your bubble being your mind, heart and own beliefs and reasons for you working where you do. When they are generating a crowd of dark clouds in the kitchen or hallway, avoid that area, get a drink elsewhere or speak to your friend in accounts who always makes you laugh.
- Compliment them
Sometimes a positive disposition can be shut down faster than a burger joint with a cockroach problem. In times like these when you are feeling the heat of the negative furnace on your skin and you can’t walk away from the conversation. Turn the conversation around to the person who is negative. Give them a compliment or ask them for assistance on something you know they can do well. Often some of the negativity can come from a feeling of not being valued within a company. So, when you are confronted with a frown, turn it around with a compliment on a piece of work they did well or get some help on a project you have. This can also get some of your workloads lighter and end in a win, win.
- Don’t engage in the negative talk
The atmosphere in your mind is tense, your mood is starting to drop and your motivation you had to get into your work this morning is slowly being sucked out of you. If possible, walk away. Politely say I’ve got to get (insert deadline, contract, proposal you have here) and leave your negative colleague to their lemmings who enjoy feeding off the negativity like a drug. You don’t need to please these people and your energy is best spent on yourself and the aspects of your life that make you happy. Life is to short to waste on people complaining in the workplace.
- Focus on your reality and what you can control
My dad used to say, “If you can’t change it why worry if you can change it why worry” You cannot control the situations that have led to your colleagues being negative, but you do have control over what you think, say and do for yourself. Yoda was right, your focus defines your reality. Focus on what’s positive and helpful and leave the negative to the people who seem to be doing it best. You have the choice to change and walk away and focus on something that will fulfil your life, not empty it.
- Hang around the people that bring the sunshine into your day
Unless it’s a toxic workplace and no one is happy in their job (in which case I would recommend making a pros and cons list of why you work there) then you can choose who you spend your time around at work. You’ll see the positive people. They find the silver lining in everything. The good in every person. These are the people who could be given an earful from an irate customer but are concerned about what has happened in that person’s life to make them so mad. These are the people who, don’t let negativity into their bubble, compliment, walk away and hang around with you. So next time the Grinch in the corner cubicle is getting you down, find your happy place within and speak to the colleagues that make your day better.
Understand that Life, in general, can bring with it, its own highs and lows, so much so that you don’t need to feel unhappy with negative people in your workplace. If your work environment is becoming unbearable it’s a great idea to seek professional guidance. Some workplaces have an Employee Assistance Program on offer which is confidential and free. Check out your employee portal if you have one or ask your HR team.
It’s important to look after yourself, something we don’t often do, so be kind to yourself first and you’ll find it easier to be kind to the people who are negative at work. Think about it, what will you do the next time you are faced with the Grinch in the hallway or job site?