It’s hard not to catch negativity; you can walk away from a few minutes spent with a negative colleague and feel you’ve taken some of their feelings with you. Your good mood can evaporate fast.
Here are three things to try out:
- To use the jargon, you need to give the person some validation of their viewpoint. It’s not about reinforcing their negative feelings but it is about letting them know you’ve heard what they’ve said and showing some empathy (not the same as sympathy, try out The Empathy Quiz if you want). Sometimes that’s all folk want, a respectful, listening ear. You may need to be clear about your time boundaries, as in “I have a free 5 minutes now, what’s wrong?”
- You probably don’t agree with everything they are saying but see if you can find a point of common ground. You can agree with them that a situation is difficult, or say, yes, you understand why they don’t like the new changes, without actually compromising your own viewpoint and getting stuck into a moan session.
- You can’t turn them into positive people but do reinforce any positivity that they show. If you can pull out one of their positive feelings and build on it you’ll have a greater chance of success, of helping them. If they try to attribute their negative feelings to you firmly but respectfully say that you don’t feel the same way.
Negative people are often unhappy, insecure and fearful. You can walk away, of course you can, but often the advantages of helping someone outweigh the disadvantages; remember happiness is catching too!
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Picture from Stock Exchange by Billy Alexander
Posted on April 5th, 2013 by Jane