How to deal with negativity at work

January 22nd 2015 / Hanna Ibraheem

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Banish negativity from the office with these top tips on how to deal with bad vibes...

Whether it’s due to bad karma around us, or our own lack of optimism: it’s easy to get caught up in negativity.

We spend a large portion of our day in the office and because of this, working in a hostile environment can become toxic and may also be detrimental to your health.

So how does negativity begin to fester within the office? “Developing a bad attitude is a natural consequence when we believe that someone or something is keeping us from succeeding or doing our best work,” says career author and blogger Alexandra Levit.

“The business world can no doubt produce anger, frustration, and negativity. After all, policies don’t always make sense and the environment is often out of our control.

“However, it’s important to realise that in the end, negativity only makes you look bad, and it’s a career killer because other people will avoid working with you no matter how smart and talented you are,” says Alexandra.

On the flip side, we might find negative vibes targeted at us from a fellow colleague. Alexandra says, “Over the long-term, it will be too difficult to maintain a positive attitude in the face of constant battering.” So, we asked Alexandra for her top 5 tips for combatting our own pessimism and 5 ways to deal with negativity from others.

IF YOU’VE BEEN FEELING NEGATIVE…

Get rid of expectations

Presumptions about how things ought to work will never be the same across the team and may cause you to butt heads. “Let go of assumptions about the way your work or office ‘should’ be,” Alexandra advises. By releasing any forms of expectations, you’ll find yourself a lot happier.

Be ready for anything

In most cases, all it takes is one out-of-the-blue incident to tip us over the edge. “Prepare to cope with the worst-case scenario,” says Alexandra. In doing so, you’re able and willing to rise up to whatever is thrown your way.

Adopt an alternative view

“Dispute negative thoughts or reframe them so you can look at situations more positively,” says Alexandra. By doing this, you’re able to view the situation from a completely different perspective and may even change your own view entirely.

Embrace positive vibes

Sometimes our negative attitudes are a result of picking up on the bad vibes of those around us. Alexandra suggests, “Surround yourself with optimistic rather than pessimistic colleagues,” so that you can focus your attention on being productive as well as positive.

Remember what you’re there to do

When you’re feeling adverse about the office, it can be easy to fall into a spiral of irritability and inefficiency. “Stay busy so you don't have time to ponder on how much better your work environment could be working,” says Alexandra.

IF NEGATIVITY IS BEING TARGETED AT YOU…

Avoid the negative source

“Minimise contact with them and surround yourself with positive energy,” suggests Alexandra. In doing so, your day and mood won’t be dampened with damaging tension.

Remember: it’s not you, it’s them.

When somebody targets you with negativity, it can be easy to think that you’re the issue. It’s important to remember that this is not the case. “Don't take it personally. They probably act the same way to everyone,” advises Alexandra.

Develop a thick skin

If you find yourself in a situation that requires approaching your colleague, let any negative vibes bounce off you. Alexandra says, “Go into interactions with them with your armour on. Get what you need and get out.”

Confront the issue

If issues persist, it may be best to face the problem. “If you must work closely with them, sit down in person and ask them what you can do to improve your relationship. This kind of directness will shock them into realising they must be being a jerk,” says Alexandra.

Search for the silver lining

Your colleague may be so wrapped up in their negativity, leading them to forget any positive points about your work environment. Alexandra suggests, “Gently guide them toward a more productive attitude, possibly by pointing out what's good about your mutual work situation.”

Alexandra Levit is the author of Blind Spots: The 10 Business Myths You Can't Afford to Believe, and a blogger at The Fast Track.

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