We’ve all dealt with people that thrive on their negative attitudes. You hear their name, see their emails or their phone number appear on your cell and your first reaction is to take a deep breath. Her again. Him again. After a deep sigh, you smile and respond as best you can.
However, regular interactions with negative attitudes will take a toll on your own ability to approach your career in a positive light. Their negative aura has a contagious element that will soon permeate your skin.
So how do you deal with the negative attitudes and maintain your focus?
Start by recognizing those that truly do weigh a wet blanket on your day/life. They are not limited to the people you work with; you may actually encounter them at home or in your neighborhood. In my book The Working Woman’s GPS, there are several exercises dedicated to helping you identify those that are encouraging and supportive versus those that tend to voice their concerns on a regular basis.
As a general rule, you want to surround yourself with those that support, encourage and challenge you to do more. Those with negative attitudes are inherently going to bring you down.
In the Inc. Magazine article How to Stop 5 Types of Emotional Vampires from Destroying Your Career, author Wanda Thibodeaux
Here are 5 toxic personalities that could be destroying your success:
- Antisocials – Addicted to social excitement, freedom and stimulation, easily bored
- Histrionics – Always putting on a show because they’re hooked on attention and approval
- Narcissists – Will advertise their intelligence and talent and then ignore you once you notice
- Obsessive-Compulsives – Hyper-vigilant perfectionists who think detail and control will keep them safe
- Paranoids – Don’t accept face value for anything; offer their own version of clarity and truth
How to Deal With Negative Attitudes that Threaten Your Career
Step 1: I recommend you read her article because she not only lists a variety of traits but also what their behavior can and does do to the department/company culture. It is also fun because I’ll bet as you read, you will be able to immediately think of someone who fits those traits. Fore-warned is fore-armed. (caution – are you one of them?)
Step 2: Now that you can recognize those that are spreading their negative attitude around in their own unique manner, you can prepare for how to manage the relationship. Reality says that once we’ve identified them it doesn’t mean that we can avoid them. For many of us, they are critical work peers or our boss and in fact, maybe a close family member.
Step 3: Identify those that you can minimize your interaction with. If you can steer clear of them, begin to make a plan for doing just that.
Step 4: Create a plan to keep conversations and relationships on a positive plane. Have you ever walked down the hallway and intentionally smiled and made eye contact with everyone you meet? What happens? Soon, even those with a sour look will begin smiling back. Positive attitudes are just as contagious as negative ones – so start spreading that positive spirit.
In Wanda’s article, she offers this advice:
“…although you might not change an emotional vampire, you can beat most of them simply by taking the time to think slowly and rationally about their behaviors and the situation. Keep your cool, avoid knee-jerk responses and keep your eye on your goals rather than what the emotional vampires want you to see.”
In my book, I offer a Personal Inventory Guide to help you evaluate the energy that people in your life provide to you. One word of caution: as you complete this exercise, keep in mind how others would rank you if they completed the exercise. Are you exuding a positive and supportive energy?
With this new insight, you may want to examine my latest book, the award-winning Accelerate Your Impact.
Many professional women aspire to advance their career, but most encounter common obstacles because they don’t have “The Professional Playbook” to navigate corporate cultures. Download three chapters now of the professional playbook for women that includes initiatives to accelerate your professional growth.