How to deal with a negative coworker
Work comes with expectations, but sometimes, it also comes with the unexpected. For instance, the unexpected could come in the form of a negative coworker. Dealing with a coworker that has a negative outlook can be difficult, which is why it is helpful to understand how to deal with them. As a result, doing so will help you not only facilitate a positive work setting, but it will also support you in maintaining your peace of mind.
Maintain a growth mindset
While working with a negative coworker can quickly become draining, it is helpful to try to focus on maintaining a growth mindset. This means that you enjoy a challenge and don't view failure as a way to define how you see yourself. Rather, you see it as an opportunity for growth and skill development. Nurturing a growth mindset will allow you to focus more on doing well in your career, rather than feeling like your mindset has been negatively affected by your coworker.
Setting professional boundaries is essential to maintain productivity and attain professional relationships with your coworkers. While negative energy is easily transferred, setting boundaries to protect your own energy from being affected will always come in handy. This way, it becomes easier to focus and to also limit the interactions with your negative coworker to only professional conversation. This can be done discreetly, or you can kindly explain to your coworker that you would like to focus solely on discussions revolving around important work matters and maintaining a positive environment.
Offer helpful recommendations
If you feel like your coworker’s negative outlook is affecting both their performance and state of mind, then one way to offer them support is by referring them to helpful resources. This could include referring your coworker to a career coach, sharing the contacts of nearby therapists, or providing them with tips you find to be helpful. If you feel that their negativity is drastically affecting their performance and possibly your other coworkers, then it could be helpful to reach out to your manager or human resources to share your concerns so that they can better support them.
Focus on the positives
When your coworker expresses negativity, try to find the positive in their circumstance. It could be easier said than done, but finding the slightest good can help them see the positive in their situation. For example, your coworker could be upset about an unexpected delay. One way you could turn it into a positive is by recognizing that although there was a delay, the outcome was better than expected. This could ease your coworker’s concerns and allow them to feel more content with the situation.
Focus your time and energy on yourself
Even if it is not internal, being surrounded by negative energy can feel very draining. In order to better handle being around a negative coworker, it helps to focus your time and energy on improving yourself and reaching new goals. Writing a list of short-term and long-term career oriented goals can help you maximize your productivity, focus, and look forward to upcoming work deadlines. Aside from focusing on goals, finding time for self-care can promote positive feelings. In turn, these positive feelings promote good work performance. Focusing your time and energy on yourself will leave you with less time to absorb much of the negativity of your coworker, and more time to thrive in your career.
While work settings sometimes come with challenges, having the right tools to overcome these circumstances is a key to success. Understanding how to interact with a negative coworker is both beneficial and vital to maintain peace of mind and foster a healthier work environment.
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