Negative Coworker_Megan Dredge

Workplace negativity can be overwhelming and working with a negative person can sometimes seem impossible. A negative and critical colleague can suck the life and energy out of everyone around them and this is especially difficult if you have to work directly with them. Some colleagues really need to put the spring back in their step. Here’s six strategies for you to deal with this negative and critical person.

1. Choose to remain positive

Sometimes, a negative person can have such a detrimental effect on you that you also become critical and frustrated due to their poor attitude. We’ve all met those people who seem to find the bad in everything and struggle to ever say anything positive or uplifting. I’ve worked with these people and many times have had to adjust my own attitude and make a decision to remain positive, even in the midst of their persistent complaining. Choosing to keep a positive attitude is crucial to your own well being and will help you to persevere with the negative person.

2. Have low expectations

Sadly, most negative people will always be negative. I’d love to say that they can be easily changed but in my experience, they tend to remain critical and sarcastic. What has to change is my attitude toward them and my expectations of them. By having low expectations, the opportunity for my disappointment in them is decreased. If I don’t expect them to change, then I won’t be frustrated when they don’t.

3. Confront where appropriate

There may be times where you need to actually confront the negative person. This can be challenging however, if done correctly these difficult conversations (click here for a step by step guide) can actually build staff morale and improve the relationship you and others have with the negative person. Practice personal courage and have that tricky conversation.

4. Don’t take it personally

When a critical person says something critical, it is so easy to take it personally, to take it to heart. The important thing to remember here is that the negative person tends to say a lot of things (due do their poor attitude) which are unhelpful and unkind, to say the least. Don’t take it personally! Protect yourself from letting their words affect you.

5. Distance yourself emotionally and, if possible, physically

To maintain a healthy mind and attitude, you must put some emotional distance between you and your negative coworker. Don’t allow them to have an emotional influence on you. Take control of your own emotions and choose emotions that serve you. If possible (and sometimes this isn’t’) distance yourself physically from the person. Caution: be kind and appropriate and don’t isolate them or you, but maintaining some physical distance can help you to keep a healthy control on your own thinking and attitude.

6. Be careful with your words

Be careful that you don’t turn into a negative person by always complaining about your negative co-worker. Keep a close check on the words you are saying and don’t take the luxury of gossiping about them. Stand out from the crowd by saying only positive things, and if that’s not possible, then say nothing at all. If you’ve lost a bit of your own passion, you need to rediscover happiness at work.

This week’s assignment:

Think of your work environment, and choose to apply one of these six strategies this week. Take responsibility for yourself and your actions and attitude.

Enjoy the journey,

And more importantly,

Enjoy the moments.



QUESTION: What do you find most challenging about the negative people you work with? What strategies have worked for you? Leave your comments here.