Handling negativity at work

Handling negativity at work
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Every workplace has different personalities, some roundly positive and others astonishingly negative. A negative colleague is like a defective cell that soon infects others, impacting negatively on morale and productivity.

Having a discontent person in your team isn’t just about them but your team as well. Here’s why.

Negativity is contagious
Psychologists say that behaviours and attitudes can be passed from one person to others. This is especially so when people work in a team. Prof Hemant Kakkar of Duke University calls it “social contagion”. When you have someone in your team who’s constantly grumbling, you’ll soon start to feel this negativity. You may even “discover” that you’ve been handling more work than you’re compensated for.

Pessimists are a distraction
Whenever an opportunity arises, some colleagues will share everything wrong about their life. When such a colleague stops by your desk, you can be sure no work will be done. Once they start on their tirade, they will go on and on until they wear themselves out. Meanwhile you’ll disengage from work and end up missing out on deadlines.

You have a disillusioned team member? That’s one more problem
Teams come together to create solutions at the workplace. But when a member of your team is discontent for whatever reason, that’s one more problem for you and your team to solve. You’ll constantly have to deal with lack of drive and lethargy as you attempt to steady the team ship.

They only highlight ills
A discontent person never sees any good in colleagues, employer, clients and even themselves. All they talk about are negative things. Shockingly, they always find reasons to discredit performance even when the team has done well. Who wants to work with such a character?

Dealing with additional workload
When someone spends most of their time spewing bile, often they have little time left to work on their share of assignments. Consequently, the rest of the team is compelled to handle more work to meet project deadlines. This soon wears them down. The rule of the thumb is to identify such characters and to minimise contact with them as much as possible. This way, you’ll avoid being infected with their negativity.