Illustration: samuraitop, www.123rf.com
We all have good and bad days at work. When it’s the latter, we shake it off and hope that things will get better the next day. However, if your office is constantly plagued by negativity and it’s draining you emotionally – to the point where you’re dragging your heels to work – what you need is a new office game plan.
If switching jobs isn’t the best solution, re-evaluate what causes the negativity at work and how it affects you. Then, turn the situation around with these tips from Karen Leong, director of Influence Solutions and author of Win People Over – 75 Simple and Powerful Ways to Influence Anyone.
CHOOSE TO BE EMPOWERED
“Two people in a similar work environment, who are facing the same issue, can adopt different responses to it. A half-filled glass can be seen as half full by one person, and half empty by another,” says Karen.
“I was once told by a mentor that you can either live like a lion, happy and trusting with your head held high, or live like a jackal and constantly watch your back in fear. Even when you choose the latter, you may still have arrows fired at your back.”
For most people, it would be easier to choose trust and happiness. “I discovered that people treat me the way I view them – the happier and more trusting I am, the more people share that positive energy and return the trust,” she adds.
SEE PROBLEMS AS OPPORTUNITIES
“Usually, it is our perspective that is the problem. When one person sees a problem, another may see nothing and yet another may see an opportunity,” Karen explains.
“Opportunities knock on our doors all the time. However, they are often disguised as problems and negativity. People who can see the opportunities in problems will likely be more positive and successful.”
So the next time you’re confronted with a problem, ask yourself: “What is the opportunity in this?”
FIND MEANING IN WHAT YOU DO
When you perceive your work as meaningful, you’re more likely to think positively about it. Likewise, it’s easier to be bogged down by negative emotions when you feel disconnected.
Once you’re able to see the value of what you do, and the difference it makes to other people, chances are, you’ll feel happier and more fulfilled.
MAKE REWARDING CHANGES
Receiving less-than-glowing feedback from your bosses no doubt chips away at your self-esteem. But constructive feedback, even while hard to swallow, can actually lead to better things.
“When you receive a negative performance review, ask yourself: ‘Have I been true to myself and given it my best shot?’ If you haven’t, take it as a wake-up call to sharpen your skills and be at the top of your game,” says Karen.
Read also: 8 bad habits you should change at your job
Turn negative emotions into a catalyst for self-growth. By doing this, you give yourself a chance to change things for the better. If you’re dealing with office politics or negative behaviour from a colleague, speak to the person instead of complaining to others. “Think about how you can communicate directly with him or her to resolve matters,” adds Karen.
LOOK FOR POSITIVE TRAITS
“Negative emotions often stem from human interactions – be it with bosses, colleagues or clients. When we feel hostile towards someone, we tend to reduce communication with that person,” says Karen.
While it can be beneficial to avoid confrontation, you can’t always avoid certain people or problems – it’s best to focus on their positive traits and see what makes them assets instead of liabilities.
“For example, instead of seeing your bosses as ‘overly critical’, think of them as ‘having high expectations’. When you do this, you tend to want to live up to those expectations,” Karen explains. “You may also start viewing your bosses as mentors and seek them out more proactively. This, in turn, leads to a more positive and empowering relationship with them.”
This story was originally published in Her World Malaysia.