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Negative People at Work: Love 'Em or Leave 'Em?

I used to think that there were two types of offenses in the workplace. The first type involved doing something really bad- hurting someone, theft, violating company policies, etc.

People had told me that there were other, softer types of wrongdoing that were also present at work but "not nearly as dangerous". These included complaining, being difficult to work with, and hurting the chemistry of the team.

Old school trainers will tell you to ignore these second kinds of folks.  That rarely works as complainers tend to be social by nature, sharing their dislikes with others.  That spells trouble and can sidetrack even the hardest of workers.

Unfortunately, complaining and being negative are two of the most dangerous behaviors at work.  They become almost concrete and to be frank, it's sad.  Life is too short to be full of negative energy.

Complaining is lousy for three reasons:

  • Complaining doesn't solve the problem.

  • Complaining wastes energy and time.

  • Complaining erodes trust.


If you want to be positive at work, I recommend avoiding the negative forces (and people) as much as you can.  This may entail some sacrifices.  One teacher I know eats by himself because he doesn't want to hear negative talk in the lunchroom.

If you manage these folks, nip it in the bud a.s.a.p.  Have an honest conversation.

When it comes to complainers, should you love 'em or leave 'em?  From a Christian standpoint, everyone deserves a chance to contribute and be a member of the team.  Their honest work is so valuable to moving the mission forward. Ultimately, managers have to make the decision and each person is responsible for their own words and actions.

If it's true that "we're better together" then there is no place for complaining at work. You can be a positive influence on those around you and why not?  The complainer may have some issues at home or in their personal lives that they just can't separate from their eight hours at work.  You may be the only person with the courage enough to call them out or encourage them to be different.

If you're tempted to complain, pause and step away from the situation.  If someone around you is spreading negative vibes, choose carefully how you will respond.

How have you chosen to deal with complainers at work?

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