Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Being Positive in a Negative Work Place


It can become overbearing sometimes to deal with the constant negative ned and nancys of where you work.  There you are, trying to actually stay focused and excel at what you are doing, when someone who confides in you decides to unleash what seems to be the Niagra Falls of complaining. 

Because you are not a cold hearted person, you listen to them, try to steer the conversation to a more positive outlook, only to end up nowhere.  The good part:  you were there for someone who needed to vent.  The bad part:  Too many of these types of vents in succession can begin to affect your own outlook on your environment. 

There is a lot of truth in the statement that someone will always find what they are looking for.  I'm sure you know people who will always see the bad, or potential bad, in ANY situation.  Likewise, there are people who will only see the positive side.  It isn't a debate on who is right or wrong, because your perception of any situation is just that - your perception.

Because it is YOUR perception, this is something you alone have to monitor.  Our reality is always going to be the sum of how we think, act, talk, work, and interact with people and our surroundings. 

The quickest solution after all else fails is to just find another job if we are truly unhappy where we are, but sometimes that might be harder to consider based on several factors.  If you aren't ready to do that, or maybe you just haven't reached your limit yet and still think it's worth it to stay, consider the following things when dealing with negativity in the workplace:

1. Be Kind, Then Rewind

No, we aren't talking about VHS rentals (too many people are not going to know what that reference is).  If you are like me, you like lending an ear to someone who just wants to vent, and get their stress off their chest.  But, after the venting is over, force yourself to go back to the state you were in beforehand.  Sometimes it takes remembering the goal you are aiming for, your big picture dream, to bring the positive juices back.  Other times, you only need to just smile, hold it without thinking about it, and the positive feeling will come back.

2. Avoid The Crap-Talking Huddle

Football teams huddle up to quickly discuss strategy, to throw out an idea - something, that is going to help them advance towards a touchdown.  Unless the huddle you are witnessing in your office is similar, you most likely want to avoid it.

The majority of these "cooler talks" consist of gossip, or bad mouthing a person or policy.  In other words, if it isn't constructive or beneficial to your performance at work, just avoid it.  It's only going to suck you into a negative vacuum.  You got bigger, grander things to focus on.

3. Commit to Yourself Every Day

It sounds selfish, but that's only because it is.  No one where you work owes you anything.  They don't owe it to you to be nice, mean, quiet, loud, helpful, etc.  Yes, the ideal setting is where every one you work with is all on the same page, and working together so that everyone, employees and employers alike, get what they want out of a super productive environment.  But, until that happens, it is your sole responsibilty to keep yourself in a state of positivity, productive action, and stellar performance. 

Commit to yourself every day before going in, that you are going to be that way.  It will help keep you focused, and you will start to notice negativity repel away from you.

4. Walk Away

I will be the first to admit that this is harder for me to do than most.  I know plenty of people who simply excuse themselves and walk away the minute someone begins to speak negatively or complain about something.  It might seem rude to some, but it's the thought process of these people who excuse themselves that is admirable. 

They simply do not have the time, in their mind, to deal with that.  It's not a matter of being nice or mean, it's a matter of whether or not what they are about to hear is relevant to what they are working on, or if it will impact them positively or negatively. 

I'm not talking about people who simply don't care for others, or don't care to be there for their co-workers, friends, etc.  I'm simply referring to people who are so focused on what they have to get done, what they are getting paid for, what their passion and lively hood is - that unless you are going to benefit that somehow, or ask for their advice on something work related of yours, don't bank on them to hear you complain about how a new policy isn't fair.

What if more huddles in the workplace consisted of fresh, new strategies for the team to hit their goals faster, and more efficiently?  What if you walking around with a smile more often became contagious?  What if little by little, people in the workplace became tired of hearing the complaining, excuses, whining, gossip of the sole few who do it, that eventually it would stop?

It all starts with us as individuals, and it is true: we have to be the change we want to see around us.  Stay committed! 

Lover of Family, Life, and Possibility. Creative Soul. "Stop Thinking You Can't, and Start Knowing You Can." Reach out to me, and let me know how I can help!

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