The #1 Question to Ask Your Negative Coworker

You are having a great day at work. Things are smooth sailing. Life is good.

Then, you walk into the break room and your coworker is complaining about everything under the sun. Or, maybe a colleague snips at you in a meeting or makes a snide comment under his or her breath regarding a project you’re working on together.

How do you find yourself reacting in these situations?

For a lot of us, we tend to let another individual’s attitude or words impact our mood immediately and we also allow it to create a barrier between us – whether it is a judgement label we throw on them or a breakdown in communication all around.

But, what if we took a step back, gave ourselves even just 5 minutes to come off the emotional ledge and then re-entered the situation to ask our colleague one question: “Is everything OK?”

I get it. Sometimes, it can take a lot to be the bigger person – especially if the situation repeats itself time and time again with the same colleague; however, more often than not, we are so quick to jump to our defenses, want that person to know how much they offended us, and even begin venting about that colleague to another coworker. Maybe that person simply needs you to pull them aside and ask if they’re OK.

Just as a snippy colleague could put you in a foul mood, think about what could have put your colleague in a foul mood in the first place to then negatively impact you? Instead of allowing the negative spark to catch wind and spread like wildfire, throw some water on it.

We are all human.

There are still ways to let your colleague know that their response hurt your feelings a bit or that their negativity may be bringing some folks down, but you can do so in a compassionate and constructive way and at the appropriate time – keeping your relationship in tact and even allowing for it to become stronger. If you’d like to connect with me about what some of these conversations could look like, don’t hesitate to reach out here!

Let’s be there for each other a little more.

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