It is never easy to work with other staff members who are extremely unhappy. The can make a long day infinitely longer. Sharon Wegschieder once stated: ” Some people become comfortable with a certain level of misery.” In Tribal organizations I have definitely seen more than a few examples of this behavior. This type of toxic environment can increase conflicts, cause breakdowns in communication and lower productivity to name a few of the impacts.
Here are some tips to help you cope with this negative behavior:
1) Avoid spending time with negative co-workers. In some cases you have to work with them but there are other times you have a choice. Remember the more time you are with them the more they will affect your own attitude.
2) If you are forced to work with negative person, set limits. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into negative discussions If for example they are spreading rumors or gosipping just say I am not available for that.
3) Suggest the negative person seek help from human resources. Now sometimes HR may not be the best place to refer them as they may be part of the problem. Most HR departments understand that this is an important part of their function and have staff to help deal with these situations.
4) If all else fails talk to your supervisor about the challenges you are experiencing. They may be able to give you support and if they supervise the employee they may choose to take corrective action.
5) If all else fails consider moving on. Life is too short to work with people who do not have the best interests of the program or organization in mind. I know one person that had been working with someone for 10 years who was very negative and this person had developed ulcers over it. No job is worth risking your health over those you work with.