Uh-oh, you think as you hear Jane slam the door to her office. Youre in for another long day. I wonder what set her off this time? How long will the rest of need to suffer?
We all know what it is like to be around someone with a negative attitude and none of us enjoy it! They really do drain our energy, enthusiasm and liveliness and mak us feel depressed along with them. They definitely affect our morale and, as a result, our productivity at work.
So how do we make the best of things when we work with a person who is always in a bad mood? If someone is persistently critical, judgmental, pessimistic and angry, they are often looking for attention. The more you react to their negativity, the more they are encouraged to continue. The best response is to remove yourself from her presence. When thats not possible, do not be drawn into her negative energy. Acknowledge that it must be difficult to see only the negative aspects of life, but do NOT mesh your feelings with her negative ones. Keep martial arts principles in mind resistance causes tension and the opponent will remain stuck. If you ignore the intimidator, they have no one to argue with and will move on to a more willing sparring partner.
In my experience, consistently negative people use these down beat emotions to cover their own hurt or pain. If you want to help, ask questions such as: What is it like for you to have everything go wrong? or What does it feel like to be so angry? Focus on her where she is. Make the statement be about her, not the external things that may have triggered the mood. Do not talk about other persons, yourself or the world in general. It is the individual who is hurting who wants to be acknowledged and heard. If you are having trouble being kind to a steadfastly negative person, consider how you would treat a person who is physically hurt. The negative person is aching emotionally, and expressing it through anger and negative energy. Try to be as caring to her as you would someone who is physically hurt.
Another tactic is to ask the person with the negative attitude What do you really want? Often she does not know, which is part of the problem. Negative people can usually only tell you what is wrong or what they do not like. But thats a start. The challenge is to help the cynical person change their experiences by changing their way of thinking.
How important is attitude to our success? According to Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of the field of positive psychology, in his study on why people succeed and thrive, the number one factor is attitude. Attitude is the foundation of everything we do or do not do, accomplish or do not achieve. The good news is: Your attitude is determined by you. You decide whether you will be positive or negative. Your choice will determine whether people want to work with you or prefer to be as far away from you as possible.
Think of this quote when you find yourself at a fork in the negative-colleague-road: In one minute I can change my attitude, and in that one minute I can change my entire day!