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Dealing with Negativity

Tags:  Difficult co-worker, Job stress, Negativity

Are you working in a company that oozes negativity? Do you feel like no matter where you turn there are bad vibes bouncing at you from every direction? Working in that kind of environment can be a physical and emotional drain and make it tough to go to work each day.

Sometimes there are situations that you don't control, but affect you negatively, like changes in the marketplace or executive decisions in the company. Other times coworkers are the source of the negative feelings.

Your best bet is to determine what you can and can't control and then focus on removing the negativity from the things within you control. Many times that means the negative people you work with. If you can negate their negativity, you might actually be able to bring a more positive tone to the office. And to help you do just that, consider these Guideposts:

1. Present your request or position; ask for reaction

The best place to start when dealing with negative coworkers is to be prepared in advance for the worse. That means knowing they might react negatively and being ready to address their concerns.

Start by identifying the main problem or issue that needs to be resolved by presenting the facts and seeking the negative employee's reaction.  From there you will be able to work toward a solution that will meet everyone's needs.

2. Avoid defensiveness; create awareness; offer your support

Becoming defensive is an easy reaction when someone throws negativity your way. However, it is up to you to control the situation and to stay on point by directing the other person toward a solution.

Help them to see another side of the situation by offering insight and information into where there might be a problem and how they can help correct it. By creating this awareness and offering your support, you can get their buy-in into rectifying the situation for everyone involved.

3. Develop a plan; set follow-up and thank the person

Once you have a consensus about what the problem is and a potential solution, you need to be sure to have a plan for moving forward.

That means establishing what steps you each will take to advance the solution thereby solving the conflict. Lay out your plan, what you will do and what the other person needs to do as well as the dates by which each responsibility needs to be accomplished.

Arrange to meet again or to somehow follow up to ensure that the solution has provided the desired results. Thank the negative person for their participation in coming up with a plan of how to resolve the issue.

Negative people can be difficult to deal with. However, by providing them with the opportunity to see that there are real answers to the everyday frustrations that everyone faces, they can be part of the solution not part of the problem.

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