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How To Deal With A Negative Work Environment

During the course of your career, you will interact with people who are very different to you with regard to their thoughts, actions and personalities. This can, at times, result in disagreements and negative situations.

You may have heard the saying, “you can choose your friends but not your family”. Well, to some extent that also applies to your work colleagues. You may love your job and the company you work for, but it’s best to be prepared – you might not get along with everyone in the business.

Here are some tips on how you can remain positive in a negative work environment.

Listen to understand

Many people get frustrated when they feel that they are not taken seriously or that their thoughts are not being considered. When you are exchanging ideas with a team member, it’s very important that you listen to understand and not just listen to respond. Be open minded and ask open-ended, probing questions to better understand where your colleague is coming from. If you disagree, you can say “Thanks for sharing that, I can see you’ve raised some good points. How will your idea work if…” This will show that not only have you listened to their ideas but you have also implemented it in your mind, processed it and have shown some interest as to why it can work. If you just dismiss someone straight away with statements like “You are wrong” or “That just won’t work”, you will make them feel less valued.

Business as usual

When you are in a negative work environment, it is important that you stay focused on work priorities as it is very easy to get side tracked. Remind yourself of why you go to work and why you love working for that company.

It is okay to feel uneasy at times due to the situation. People who create negative atmospheres often thrive on the attention they get from others, whether that attention is good or bad. If you have to interact with such a person, try and stay focused on the work at hand and approach the person with an open, friendly and professional attitude.

Be solution-focused

When faced with a negative situation, keep passion and emotion out of your reactions. Being solution-focused while conversing with colleagues can help ensure that the business at hand is dealt with; it will decrease the opportunity of unnecessary arguments. Don’t take things personally when people don’t agree with you.

Fainaaz Ali Director of Careers

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