How to Deal With Negative People At The Workplace

Negativity can be toxic in any environment, but it’s especially difficult to experience at the workplace because it can spread like wildfire. Positive morale is so important for keeping a business or a team functioning smoothly, and negative people can destroy that. Instead of accepting changes or going with the flow, these types of people will take every opportunity to complain. At best, it’s a distraction, keeping others from focusing on their work. At worst, the negativity spreads until others begin complaining and have decreased morale as well.

The first thing you need to do is honestly ask yourself if their complaints are valid and widespread. Is the negativity coming from just a few people or is the entire company disgruntled? If the latter, perhaps there are cultural changes you need to consider for the entire company.

But sometimes people will complain, no matter what you do. I once knew a gentleman who complained about the coffee in the break room, the dress code, the location of his desk, and just about anything else he could think of. Everyone at the company seemed happy, and in fact, this place was rated one of the best places to work in the entire city. If employees are happy except for a few bad apples, then you must deal with those people directly.

If you’re the manager, you’ll want to sit down privately with the person who’s always negative to discuss their behavior. Tell them, while you respect their opinions, the negative attitude has consequences. Make sure they own the behavior and get a verbal commitment from them that they’ll work on improving. If they seem resistant to change, it may be that this simply isn’t the right work environment for them. After all, this is a place of business and employees need to act professionally.

People will often look to their peers for guidance on how to behave, especially in difficult situations. So, what are you to do? Recognize the people at your company who are natural leaders among their coworkers, as well as being great employees. Speak to them in private about ways they can set a positive example to their teammates to counter the negativity.

If you need more tips on how to handle negativity with grace, contact me here.