I have often said that the negative attitude of a person started out to be positive but, because of the environment, it broke down, decomposed. Because they are immature and not in control of their emotions, their positive attitude is environmentally sensitive.
I think they start the day on a positive note but then, they have a spat with their spouse, “Oh, he flossed his teeth in front of the mirror again, he knows I hate that.” Then, the kids are out of control when they try to get them off to school or daycare. Then, it’s raining, bad enough it’s a Monday. Then, some jerk cuts them off on the highway. Then, they get to work and they find out their favorite co-worker called in sick and they think, “Oh! Why didn’t he tell me he was going to call in sick? I would have called in sick too.”
Dealing with a co-workers’ negative attitude can kill your productivity and take away all the enjoyment at work. You come in at 9: AM with a ‘can do’ attitude and by noon your negative cube-mate has pull you down to his level.
While you can’t really be a pseudo-therapist, you’re not Dr. Phil, you can be an influence on their attitude by practicing these ideas. Things are not hopeless for you, you have a fightin’ chance. Here are a few quick tips.
Set the Example: You want your co-work to come to work well-dressed and professionally groomed, you come to work well-dressed and professionally groomed. You want your teammates to come to work with a positive attitude, you come to work with a positive attitude. You want your kids to get good grades in school, read a book in front of them. Remember to be the change you seek.
Ask Affirming Questions: When your co-worker comes to work with a negative attitude do you ask yourself, “Why does she always come to work in a bad mood?” Or do you ask, “What can I do to help lift her out of her bad mood?” Do you see the difference? The second question is affirming, it looks for a solution, non-affirming questions look at the problem. When you in look in your checkbook registry at the end of the month, do you ask, “Why am I always in debt?” Or do you ask, “What can I do to manage my money better?” Don’t ask an upset customer, “What’s the problem?” Ask instead, “How can I help?”
Remember to always be asking affirming questions, questions that look for solutions. This is a great skill to learn. Almost immediately you can see the rephrasing of the question leads to the reframing the problem.
Keep Your Promises: If I see you set a good example, but fail to follow through on your promises, am I going to believe your good examples? No, because there’s a lack of trust. Anyone can make a promise, it’s a different type of person who keeps the promise.
And there are three types of promises we easily break.
First is over-promising. You know that kind of promise, when we overpromise and then under deliver. Don’t make a promise that’s too big. There are too many opportunities for it to be broken; traffic, weather or other people keeping their commitments.
The other thing I mean by over-promise is this. When I was a kid, I went to Catholic grade school, and way back then we were taught by the nuns. And if you ever broke a promise to the nuns, you were in a lot trouble. To them the word promise carried a responsibility, it meant something. Now we give out promises like we give out candy. Make the word mean something again, don’t make a promise unless you are in complete control to keep it and then make sure you do.
The second promise we break is the promise we make for other people. I learned this one years ago when I was working for a hospital out east. The doctor would say to the patient, “I need to see you again about your leg.” And the patient would say, “Okay, can I come in Friday at 2:00?” and the doctor would say, “Sure you can come in at 2:00 Friday, go see the scheduler.”
The problem came when the scheduler told the patient there’s no appointment time available on Friday. The first thing the patient would say is, “But the doctor promised!”
We make promises for others more than you think. We say things like, “Mary will call you as soon as she gets back from lunch.” Or, “Someone in shipping will handle that problem for you.” They don’t sound like promises to us but they are to the people we make them to.
And the third type of promises we easily break are the ones we make to ourselves, I call it the New Year’s Eve affect. Everyone’s going to lose weight on New Year’s Eve. Everyone is going to quit smoking on New Year’s. “This is the year I start working out.” I love that one the most—we say we’re going to workout, maybe we go out and buy a treadmill to run on. In January it’s a treadmill, in April it’s a coatrack.
I think we break promises to ourselves because the only person we are accountable to is the person in the mirror.
You can lift a co-worker out of their negative funk. Negativity comes to immature people faster and easier than positivity but, follow these tips and in time you’ll help create a better workplace.
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