12 effective strategies to deal with negative coworkers

deal with negative coworker

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Dealing with a negative coworker at the office is the last thing that we want to deal with in our life. Isn’t the work and chaos of life not enough that we have to deal with such toxic people at work in addition? But that’s life, can’t do anything about it. But there are some attempts that we can make to deal with negative coworkers.

So if you are tired of toxic coworkers and wondering is there anything you can do about it, then you have come to the right place, my friend.

In this post, I am sharing strategies to outsmart negative people at work so you can deal with negative coworkers effectively.

Let’s get started.

Who are negative coworkers at work?

Negative coworkers are people at work who just try to create problems at work for you or just anyone. These people are trying to spoil the energy and momentum at work, look for opportunities to put you down, or take credit for your work.

Negative coworkers are those who bring down the morale of a workplace. They may act in a destructive or harassing way, undermining coworkers or managers and affecting the entire work environment. As per some studies, negativity in the workplace costs not just the employee but also the company in billions.

They are negative people who make it difficult to get work done and can lead to moral problems. If you have a negative colleague, it’s important to take action to address the issue. 

The typical characteristics of a negative person at work are different but one thing that they all have in common is that they make it difficult for you to progress at work and make your life difficult.

Do you feel, like you, know someone like this? then I bet you need to read ahead to deal with such a toxic coworker.

How to deal with a negative coworker?

Here are 12 ways to deal with negative coworkers

12 ways to deal negative coworker

1: Avoid negative coworkers where possible

Well, a simple and effective way to deal with a negative coworker is to avoid them where possible. If you are not around them or working on tasks and projects with them there is less possibility for them to affect you, and their need to be negative towards you.

However, I do understand it is not always possible to escape from them but at least it’s worth a try to avoid them as much as possible.

2: Limit time with negative coworkers

Another deal with negative coworkers is to limit the time we spend with them in situations wherein we cannot avoid them. You must make it a priority to limit the time that you spent with them, it can be by trying to alter your working hours, having lunch with others people or outside the office.

You can also try speaking to your seniors and find ways to work on separate projects. Try to look out for ways to limit time with them.

The less you interact with them less are the chances they can bother you.

3: Acknowledge they are negative

You need to identify and acknowledge that the person is negative and a toxic coworker.

This is essential to deal with them,  this lets you make a conscious choice about different ways to deal with negative coworkers that we are discussing here and set the right mindset.

Another reason why I think acknowledging is very important is that at times we forget

about how they are and get emotionally disturbed by their behavior but when we are clear that they are negative and what better can we expect from them it gets easier to deal with them.

As Buddha said your own expectations hurt you more than anything else.

So don’t expect them to change or spend time thinking about why they cannot be good. The only thing that you can control in this world is you.

4: Do not react to negative coworkers

Never react to the action of a negative coworker. When they try to put you down or are mean to you do not react immediately. Most of the time toxic people do so to provoke you and enjoy your reactions. 

Also never respond to them the way they do, it may be very instinctive to back-answer them the same way as they spoke to you but it just makes thighs ugly and you are falling down to their level. 

If you react to their expectation you are letting them win.

In situations when you feel tempted to react, just breathe deep and remind yourself you are not like them.

5: Don’t spill out, let others notice the negative coworker

Many times we find it comforting to talk to other people at the workplace about the behavior and the actions of the toxic coworkers but it is not advisable.

You should not let people know that this person is bothering you, this gives the opportunity to others to take benefit out of the situation you are in, they may talk back behind your back, they may judge you for being wrong and the words you having trouble with a coworker will spread.

When you say it out loud you become the person who is spreading a negative word about them and this can fuel the situation.

Instead, let the people notice for themselves and realize the negativity the coworkers spreads.

6: Respond to negative coworkers professionally

In situations when a negative coworker put you down, lets you not put forth your ideas, or try to sabotage you, always respond professionally; respond with polite, confident talk.

Be specific to the matter under discussion and not get carried away by the behavior exhibited by the negative coworker.

A good way to respond when a toxic coworker speaks ill to you or is mean is to ask them if they can elaborate or by saying I don’t understand can you explain what you mean.

This put them on the spot of being noticed for the negative behavior they are extending to you and people will notice that you are being professional in spite of this person being mean to you.

It also lets the negative coworker reinspect their behavior. 

12 ways t o deal with negative people at work

7: Keep things black and white

When it comes to working with a negative coworker the most damage they can pose to you at the work front is by misquoting you, blaming you for work not done, not helping you meet the timeline, and so on and so forth. Hence it is very important to keep in communication with them on such matters over email. 

When things are discussed one on one or at meetings, share the minutes of the meeting with them and others related to the matter. 

It may cost you extra time but will not give them scope to harm your work and still if they do, you will have records to save yourself.

All other things that they do cannot affect you much but anything that can affect your performance at work and your deliverable at work may impact you, so you need to be extra precautious over there.

8: Build your reputation at work

When you are good at work and exhibit the skills and behavior of a good person and good coworker, the attempts by a negative coworker to sabotage your image will not be successful.

Make sure you are good at the work assigned to you and are helpful to fellow coworkers. The positivity you share will be counter to the attempts of a negative coworker.

Your work and reputation will speak for you and you need not defend yourself.

You must read 10 habits to be successful at work and 10 Things You Must Do To Be Successful At Work to build a good reputation at Work.

9: Be prepared for a faceoff

Although you must not reach this stage but depending on the intensity of the situation, you must judge if it can happen.

Make sure you are prepared when it comes to direct confrontations and open talk about the negativity you are experiencing. It can be your seniors, or HR discussing the situation at hand or the negative coworking provoking you to argue.

In such a situation remember to keep your mind calm, not respond by emotion but speak precisely on the fact and not rant about the events.

Keep it crisp to the point and specific to the work.

10: Don’t lose your positivity

It is very obvious that you feel low, distracted, and demotivated by the negative behavior of coworkers around but you need to find ways to not lose your positivity.

Losing your positivity is only going to help difficult coworkers succeed in their intention to put you down. 

Find out ways or things that help you be motivated and feel positive, it can be listening to some mood-lifting music, affirmative self-talk, or focusing on your goals.

I personally find it helpful to look at my vision board, it helps me get aligned with my goals and reminds me that I need not bother about negative people around me and that I have much bigger things to do in life.

You must definitely try a vision board here are Steps to create a Vision board that manifests your dream life.

11: Never lose your calm

There is no doubt that working with negative people around is extremely challenging but you need to make sure to not lose your calm. Losing your sanity can reflect badly against you and will add to the difficulties.

Make conscious efforts to not carry over the burden of negativity from the workplace to home and let it affect your personal life and time. It is just not worth and the more you lose your calmness the more difficult it will be to deal with it.

Find ways to take your mind off the negative behavior you experience to maintain your sanity.

Here are 5 steps system to help you relax and unwind after a busy day that will be helpful to you.

12: Don’t let them affect your productivity

Spending time thinking about the thing toxic people at work do and talking about it all the time is very unproductive, it will not let you perform at work and deliver your best.

The best way to beat negative people at work is by excelling at your work and putting all your attention on them is going to reduce your productivity.

So be in charge of your mindset and don’t let the things around you affect your productivity and performance at work.

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So these are the 12 ways that can help you deal with negative coworkers. The strategies shared here are to deal with toxic coworkers with integrity and not let them affect you, but if you feel that things are way beyond the limit, reach out to your supervisor or HR. Although in most situations there would not be a need for it if you follow the strategies discussed here.

I hope these are helpful to you, I would love to know your views in the comments.

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