August 09, 2012
Q: What is the best way to deal with a negative coworker? We have someone in our department who constantly complains and brings down the spirit of the department. Should I go to Human Resources or their manager or is there a better way to deal with the negativity?
A: Negativity is certainly a problem. I think that there are several things you can do to try and boost morale and put a stop to the ongoing complaints.
You could have an honest conversation with the individual if you are close enough to them. They might not be aware that they are not welcome interactions. When they complain you could respond with positives about the company. You could speak specifically about your department and what you enjoy about your job. Sometimes that is enough.
Can you specifically identify the reason they complain? You could have a positive impact by listening carefully to why they are dissatisfied and addressing the specific area with recommendations on how that situation could improve. If the behavior continues then be kind but firm and let the individual know that you would prefer not to hear the comments.
If that isn’t an effective option than speaking with the department manager or Human Resources is an option. They may not be aware of the problem and certainly can assist by knowing about the dissatisfaction and trying to intervene and change things for the positive.
Persistent negativity can really affect workplace productivity. It should be addressed and your intervention might be very welcome. If it ceases there is much to be gained for you, your department and the company.
Thank you for your question. Good luck, I hope this helps.