By: Katrina Schwarz, Braathe Enterprises Virtual Intern
Everyone has to deal with negative people at some point. How you go about dealing with such people in the workplace can affect the atmosphere for everyone, so it’s wise to proceed with caution. Here are some guidelines for how to take action:
1) Find your place in the problem: Do you find yourself taking this person’s negativity personally? Could you be overly sensitive to negativity? Do you complain about the negativity to your fellow coworkers? If so, you could be fanning the flames and contributing to the problem. Changing your own attitude could make the problem disappear. If you are not part of the issue, go on to the next step.
2) Communicate with the person in question: Try to understand why they’re acting that way. Listen. Challenge the negativity by setting them straight if their attitude is caused by a misperception of work dynamics or offer a more positive outlook if the negativity is more general. Whatever you do, don’t be confrontational, put blame on the person or devalue them in any way, as this may only aggravate the problem. If communicating doesn’t change the other person’s attitude, having some insight as to why they’re so negative could help you change yours to be more understanding. If their complaints are caused by external factors rather than an attitude issue, move on to step three.
3) Find a solution: This is easiest if you’re in a position to directly affect whatever it is that’s bothering the person, be it something like a mistake on payroll or a team situation. If you’re not in a position to help make changes, you could still make suggestions as to whom to turn to in order to get the problem fixed. Sometimes people are just frustrated and need some direction.
As with any other situation dealing with other people, tact, understanding and listening can go a long way in resolving conflict.