I once worked with someone who was unbelievably negative. He used to stand at the front of the shop and scowl. And if he did speak to you, it would be to complain about you, a customer or one of your colleagues. It was draining. We all knew he was a negative influence. But we didn’t tell him to stop.
In fact, some people would reluctantly join in and others tried to out-do him. Sometimes I reflect on the days I spent on the shop floor with him. I think about how much he lowered morale and made negativity a permanent fixture of my working day.
I cannot stress to you enough that this man really could complain about anything. His go-to complaint was to criticise teenage boys who all looked like matchsticks with their uncomfortably coordinated outfits. Ironically, those tracksuits were our biggest money-maker, and he wore the same tracksuit regularly too.
One day, one of my colleagues came in with a new hair style. It looked amazing and she had the kind of vibrant personality to pull it off. But this guy was so horrible about it. He just droned on and on about how it was “unprofessional”, and she would “never get a real job looking like a French Fancy”.
That was the last straw.
So, we did something about it. You see, the way to immunise your organisation from negativity is to isolate it - as you would a contagious patient. So, whenever the topic of my colleague’s new hair was commented on, we politely but firmly said that her hair looked amazing. By challenging his negativity, we successfully removed the social reward that comes with this type of behaviour. It took a couple of days, but he finally stopped talking about her choice of hair style.
The colleague in question was desperate to be considered ‘successful’. If I had seen the video What To Say When A Colleague Is Negative I would have asked him, ‘how often do you hear a successful person complain?’. The answer: not very often. Successful people don’t fill their day moaning about their lot in life, their customers or their environment. They are proactive and get stuff done. Negativity very rarely brings people meaningful success.
Sadly, we often only challenge negativity when it has gone on too long. But once you’ve seen WATCH & GO’s What To Say When A Colleague is Negative, you know exactly how to tackle negativity as soon as you encounter it. And that means we can all get on happily with our work without being sabotaged by negative comments.
WATCH & GO’s What To Say When A Colleague is Negative is available for free for the entire month of November from the website. To see more innovative and helpful titles email firstname.lastname@example.org to book a no-obligation demo.
1 November 2019
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