How to Insulate Yourself From Negativity
(Editor’s note: This is the third part in a three-part series on Dealing With Difficult People in the Workplace. Check our archives for previous articles “Dealing with Problem Employees” and “How to Handle Rude and Offensive Coworkers.”)
Everyone has worked with them before: the people who breed and thrive on negativity. No matter the circumstances, they’re never happy, always complaining, and always the first ones to find fault with others. Even when you’ve had successes, they’re quick to point out areas where you could have been better.
While you can’t affect how these naysayers see the world, you can choose how their attitude will affect you. You can either succumb to their negative energy and let it affect your own outlook and confidence, or you can insulate yourself from it. And by insulating yourself from toxic attitudes, you not only create a positive environment, but create a mental boost that will help you succeed.
But what’s the best way to protect yourself from negativity in the workplace? The best way is simply to avoid negative people. Of course this isn’t always possible. In today’s interconnected work environment, it’s impossible to completely avoid negative people. With that in mind, here is a guide to help you minimize the effects of uncooperative and obstinate coworkers and employees.
The first thing you should always do is project yourself with self-confidence. Even if you have doubts, don’t allow them to surface. Act and behave with self-assuredness and don’t allow critics to push your buttons. This means not stooping to their level and engaging in pointless and detrimental arguments. This is especially true when you’re the boss. Remember, at the end of the day, you have final say, so if you truly believe that you’re taking the right course of action, don’t let anyone dissuade you.
Secondly, try to identify the causes of negativity in your workplace. If a coworker or employee is constantly complaining and taking a “poor me” attitude, set clear boundaries. Limit the amount of time you spend talking about these complaints. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t address legitimate concerns, but rather that you shouldn’t occupy too much time in your busy schedule listening to complaints that are unavoidable.
If you’re dealing with a doubter, someone who is constantly running down your ideas or achievements, the best thing to do is simply to keep generating results. While these people are sure to point out your shortcomings, if you’re doing a good job, eventually their nitpicking will become apparent as just pettiness.
Of course, this course of action may be too passive for you. In this scenario, you should approach the critic coolly and calmly, and seek to find out exactly why he or she is so down on you and your work. If you approach them rationally, most people, when confronted with evidence of their own poor behavior, will be shamed into improving their attitude.
Above all, it’s incredibly important that you maintain your cool. Negative people are energy vampires who thrive off of discontent. If you succumb to their malcontent, you’re giving them exactly what they want. Instead, don’t allow yourself to get caught up in their complaining. While this may not entirely solve the problem, it will convey the message that you aren’t going to let these naysayers bring you down to their level.
Finally, remember that no one can affect your attitude except for you. If you let yourself give in to the negativity of those around you, you’re only hurting yourself. On the other hand, if you don’t allow it to bother you, you’ll rise above it.
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Dealing With Difficult People Tip:
When you’re dealing with difficult people, it’s important to understand that you will NOT change them. They will decide if and when they’ll come to terms with their problems. But if you stay centered and assertive, and respond to the underlying message, you’ll have much more success when dealing with difficult people.
– Strengthening Your People Skills in the Workplace seminar.
“Success is not to be pursued; it is to be attracted by the person you become.”
– Jim Rohn
True; especially the closing statement that no one can affect your attitude except for you.
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this was very informative and a refresher on how to assert oneselve when confronted by negtive situations. i agree that you cannot completelety avoid negativity because we are all interconnected and the points you bring up are useful i would think in any environment. very good reading!
very imformative. great ideas and helpful!
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