A couple of weeks ago, I was on the road speaking. I rented a car. And after my keynote presentation, I returned it to Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
The pleasant young lady who took care of the paperwork for me gave me a ride back. Her name is Ashley. She just graduated from college. She is currently in training to be a manager.
I asked Ashley about her job with Enterprise. She told me that she absolutely loves it. I decided to go deeper.
When people give you the vanilla answer, always ask a follow-up question to probe deeper.
That’s when you discover what’s going on in the person’s life. Otherwise, they’ll tell you that everything is great.
I said to Ashley, “That’s wonderful! I’m glad you love your job. But let me ask you this: Are there times when you feel like your job is not all that wonderful?” She said, “Of course.”
I said, “I’m going to tell you exactly why your job is not always so pleasant.” She said, “Really? I want to hear that.”
I said, “I bet there’s, at least, one negative co-worker who makes life miserable at work.”
She realized I was on to something. I told her, “I call that negative person the rattlesnake.”
I went on to tell her that rattlesnakes are the ones that focus on the negative. They are the backbiters, gossipers, and bullies. They enjoy putting others down.
I bet you are thinking of at least one person in your workplace who is just like that. Right?
It’s the kind of person you wish the company would gladly pay just to stay at home.
I often jokingly tell my audiences to send their rattlesnakes to the competition. Give them an excellent recommendation to they can go ruin the competition. Though it’s funny, there’s some truth to that.
I affectionately call those negative people… jerks.
I know. Jerk is not a kind word. I supposed I could find a better way to say it. But, isn’t it true that some people are jerks? They shake your foundation to cause you to lose your cool. Am I right?
As I continued to tell Ashley about negative people and their ways, she was smiling. She could not believe I was so right about what I said.
She said, “How do you know all that? Are you some psychic?” I said, “No. I just study human behaviors.” Let me offer you three ways to handle negative people.
3 Ways to Handle With Negative People In The Workplace
1. Accept The Fact That They Are Who They Are
The point I’m making is that those mean-spirited and aggravating people won’t go away. They will always be among us.
During your brief journey on this planet, you will have to interact and work with them. There’s no way around it. You can’t hide from them.
All right, you might be saying to yourself, “Yes, I know you are right. But how do I deal with them, so they don’t create that much stress in my life?”
The answer is simple. Just accept the fact that they are who they are. You can’t change that. Besides, trying to change them is a losing battle.
Move on and refuse to let them rule your life. Don’t pray for them to disappear. Instead, you need to pray for the wisdom to accept them just as they are.
If you didn’t know, jerks are jerks anywhere and everywhere.
Here’s another fact that is mind-blowing:
Did you know that negative and mean-spirited people make up only two percent of our society? Let me put it this way for you…
Let’s say you work with one hundred people on your team. That means 98 of them are good people. But two of them are bound to be rattlesnakes or jerks.
The sad thing is, those two people can cause you a lot of grief and aggravation. They can make it look that the whole world if full of them. Do you see what I mean?
The point is; that person who gets on your last nerve is going to be just that way. Don’t wish for them to be different.
Instead, change your attitude toward their behavior. Acknowledge that it is what it is. Make sense?
So, your mantra from now on when a negative person tries to push your hot button is this simple phrase:
“It is what it is.”
Yes, if you are dealing with a co-worker who won’t stop bothering you, close your eyes and say, “It is what it is.”
Every time you think about it, just repeat that one sentence. Then say a silent prayer so God can change them.
2. Don’t Take Them Home With You
It’s very unlikely you go home with a profound sense of gratitude and joy for the excellent people in your work environment. My guess is, you probably take them for granted.
But, for some odd reason, you just can’t stop thinking and talking about the negative people at work—the jerks that make life miserable.
You go home. Instead of spending time connecting and strengthening your relationships with the people at home, you keep thinking about how such and such ruined your day.
It is as if thinking about it will change the situation. The reality is, you are aggravating yourself even more. Simply put, you are hurting yourself.
Now, how do you refuse to take those aggravating co-workers home with you? Well, do you remember your new mantra? That’s right!
“It is what it is.”
That’s how you stop negative people in the workplace from mentally torturing you.
Psychologists tell us that we are wired to avoid pain and to gain pleasure. That means, as much as Ashley loves her job, there are times when still dreads going there.
I’m sure once she becomes a manager; she’ll have to deal with more aggravation from negative employees.
How in the world do those rattlesnakes persuade someone to hire them in the first place? Really. How do you think they do it?
Well, they do it behind a mask. They talk a good game during the job interview. They are sweet and say everything the interviewer wants to hear.
But once they get the job, everything changes. That’s how rattlesnakes behave. They are slick and deceitful.
I mean one negative, pessimistic, and pain-the-neck person can slow down a whole team.
Their very presence dims the light in the room. They show up at the meeting, and they make people feel uncomfortable.
If the human resources department were paying attention, they would weed out those rattlesnakes. They would get rid of them. Can I hear you say amen?
Look, for the sake of your health, and the awesome people in your life, don’t take the jerks home with you. Quit talking about them.
Besides, your family members at home don’t deserve the aggravation you bring to them.
3. Expect Them to Show Up
The secret to making sure rattlesnakes never get to you is to expect them.
Every day when you show up to work, you should know one or two will try to spread their venom.
Here’s the way it works. As soon as that person shows up or call on the phone, you get yourself mentally ready.
Just say silently and with a smile on your face, “I read about you in an article recently. You are the two percent.
Hurry up with your nasty attitude so I can get to the nice folks out there. It’s impossible for you to make me mad.”
Then continue to smile during the whole conversation. In my recent book Negative People, I call that “reframing the jerks.”
Let Me Leave You With This About Negative People In The Workplace…
They don’t single you out for their abusive treatment. They are who they are wherever they are and with whomever.
Imagine the people who have to live in the same room with them. Would you want to be that person? Of course, the answer is no.
Lastly, let me remind you again that your job is not to change them. They will always be who they are.
Somehow, it’s the software that is running in their mind. They are programmed that way. I may be wrong. I think some of them may have a chemical imbalance that causes them to have mood swings.
Your job is to prepare mentally and condition your mind to deal with them accordingly. Once you do so, instead of being mad, you’ll just laugh at the situation and move on.
When companies are going through disturbing changes and low morale in the workplace, the best solution is to make sure employees are inspired and motivated to face their daily challenges. Unfortunately, many companies tend to dismiss this one simple truth.
Far too many bosses are in denial. They claim that motivation is the kind of fluff that doesn’t help their situation. They think more knowledge and skills are the ways to deal with stressful change in the workplace. That’s a false assumption. Let me explain…
A young lady called my office a few months ago. She was planning a meeting for her company. She told me based on the challenges they were facing, they needed someone to boost morale and inspire their team.
However, her bosses didn’t think a motivational speaker was what they needed to help them deal with rapid and difficult change. They wanted her to find either a business consultant, sales or customer service trainer. As far as motivation, they left it up to the team members to motivate themselves.
Tough Times Demand Motivation and Inspiration
The young lady’s challenge was to persuade her bosses to book me as their keynote speaker. She felt like I was the best fit for her event. She wanted me to coach her on how to sell me to her bosses. I did. And, it’s was easy for me to do.
The reality is, most people already know what to do to get more done or succeed through tough times. Stressful changes don’t render individuals incompetent. They simple demotivate them. America’s workplaces are full of highly educated and skilled employees that are unmotivated and disengaged.
Trainings & Skills Are Not A Solution For Low Morale
Let’s say your team members have been in sales for the last 10 years. Suddenly, the economy is tanking. Your company starts implementing some tough changes, do you think the employees need to learn more selling skills in order to rise up to their new challenges?
The answer is a resounding NO!
Yes, there are instances when the people perish for lack of knowledge. But, this is NOT the case. More selling techniques, tricks, and strategies don’t boost morale in the workplace.
What I’m essentially saying is this: Your team already know what they need to do to achieve more and prosper during hard times. They are creative and inventive enough to do more with less. The just lack the motivation to do so.
They need to be fired up to keep pressing on. Someone needs to inspire them to see what’s possible for them in the midst of their difficulties. Most people are more than capable of handling their situation with the right cheerleaders.
There are so many people paying a lot of money to Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers to lose weight. Is it because they don’t know what to do to lose weight? I don’t think so.
Losing weight does not require more skills. Here’s the formula: Eat Less + Exercise More = Weight Loss
A few years ago, I started a quest to learn how wealthy people accumulate their wealth. I called a friend of mine who is a wealthy banker. I asked him to share with me the secret to wealth. I was shocked when he revealed the secret. Would you like to know what it is?
The Secret To Wealth
Save More + Spend Less + Make More = Wealth
That sounds simplistic, isn’t it? But, it is exactly how wealthy people accumulate their wealth. Sure, you can go to seminars after seminars. You can go to college to get a degree in finances. But, none of that would help you get rich.
As a matter of fact, there are lots of highly educated people in the world who are broke. Why? Well, they lack the motivation and inspiration to save more, make more, and spend less.
My point is, your team members don’t need more tools and trainings. That’s not going to boost morale during stressful times in the workplace. They just need to be inspired and motivated to consistently apply what they already know.
You arrive at work with a cheerful mood and a positive attitude. You feel like it’s going to be an awesome day for you. Maybe you were singing a happy tune on your way to work. Well, unexpectedly, someone comes along and knock the wind out of your sail. That person ruined it all for you.
Suddenly, you find yourself in the basement of life. For the rest your day, you struggle to stay focused and get things done. Has that ever happened to you?
Years ago, I used to work with a supervisor who was a big demotivator. He would always find a reason to complain about something. He was grumpy. His life was miserable. As a result, he took great pleasures in making other people’s lives miserable as well.
Looking back, I often wonder how did that guy become a supervisor in the first place. Who hired him? I’m sure you’ve had moments when you ask yourself the same question about a certain supervisor, manager, or co-worker. Right?
I’m not sure who or what are your demotivators in the workplace. Maybe it’s your supervisor, manager, or co-worker. Chances are, it’s NOT a thing. It’s a human being doing it to you. At some point, someone decided to play the role of a jerk in your life, or in the workplace. And, they think it’s funny.
Okay, let’s not call anyone a jerk here. But, let me ask you this: How do you deal with such a person? Do you think you should try changing that person? Well, the answer is no. Have you ever tried to change somebody? How did that work for you? My guess is, you did not succeed. How do I know? I’ve tried it before. It didn’t work.
Years ago, I came to the realization that trying to change others is a waste of time and energy. The best solution is to change the way you respond to your demotivators. Here are a few ways to do so:
3 Simple Ways To Handle Your Demotivators In The Workplace
1- Come Prepared To Deal With Whatever
When you’re in a great mood, know that there may be someone waiting for you to steal your joy. You have to be pro-active. You see, if you live your life constantly reacting, demotivators in the workplace will always get to you. They will continue to push your hot buttons and distract you.
Being pro-active is simply preparing yourself to deal with what may come in the future. So, tell yourself that today you’re going to have a great day no matter what. Since you already know some demotivators are waiting for you at work, plan on how you’re going to react.
Tell yourself throughout your working day that no once can rob your good feelings. The moment a demotivator shows up, begin to tell yourself that this person cannot in any way steal your motivation. Do whatever is necessary to prepare yourself.
Sing a happy song during your drive to work. Repeat aloud some uplifting and positive affirmation. I know that sound kind of hockey. But, it really does work. As William James said, “I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.”
2- Don’t Offer Resistance
Human beings thrive on resistance. They cannot live without it. It’s how they gain strength and momentum to keep jerking other people around. Here’s what you need to keep in mind: When resistance meets resistance, it creates tension. For example, when your boss or a co-worker tries to push you around, they are looking for resistance. Resist the temptation of giving them what they want. Yes, resistance can sometimes be a good thing. I advise it when it comes to resisting the temptation to resist your demotivators.
The key is to weaken your demotivators by offering zero resistance. Now, I know it’s hard to take the non-resistance approach. Most people would think what I’m saying here it the behavior of a coward. However, that’s how you gain power.
Imagine for a moment that two people are pulling each other with a rope. The more they pull, the more power and tension they create. The moment one person let go of his or her resistance, the other becomes weak and fall. Do you see what I mean?
If you want to weaken the person who’s pulling your rope in the workplace to demotivate you, don’t pull back. Let go of the need to resist. I guarantee you that the person will leave you alone and go find a better target. Once you let go, your demotivator will fall flat on his or her behind. Come to think of it, that’s good. It’s not a bad thing, isn’t it?
3- Don’t Quit… Don’t Walk Away
Don’t you ever think about quitting your job because of a demotivator. You’ve invested too much in it. Just keep adding fuel to your motivational engine.
Keep pressing on. You see; others will steal your joy and happiness. It’s a given. Most people can’t stand when you are happy when they are not. That’s why they will do something or find a way to upset you.
My advice to you is not to focus on their unnecessary criticism. No. Let it fall off your back like water off a duck’s back.
Staying motivated is a full time job. Every time you think about walking away, take a quick break and go outside to deliberately breathe. Remember this: You are fully responsible for your peace of mind. You have to keep going even when don’t feel like it.
Don’t give up. Don’t be discouraged. Don’t quit. The reality is, no matter where you go, there will be demotivators waiting for you. Your job is to learn how to deal with them tactfully. Always take the high road instead of acting like them or quitting your job.
What I just shared with you may sound simple. Yet, they are powerful. The moment you start living a pro-active life, offer zero resistance, and keep pressing on. Your life in the workplace will never be the same. You will find yourself living a stress-free life. People will not target you as their bait. You will be more focused and less distracted.
You will find yourself in control of situations that are not pleasing. You’ll be able to push your own buttons to feel the way YOU want to feel. That’s power. Use it to your great advantage. Use it as your leverage.
How to deal with difficult employees in the workplace is one of the questions I am asked often as I travel the country keynoting conferences. I want to take a moment to give you some tips about it. You see, it’s just like any game.
Once you know and master the rules, you can win. Here’s one fact you must keep in mind when it comes to dealing with difficult employees: As long as you are dealing with people, there will be conflict.
Please read the last statement again and engrave it in your brain. For whatever reason, most people expect the world to behave and act the way they think the world should. Crazy! Of course, it would be ideal. Life would be so easy! But I hate to be the bad news bearer here.
People will always act and behave according to their world… Not yours.
If you can get what I just said, you will be well on your way to dealing with difficult people. You will begin to understand humanity on a whole new level. In fact, your world will change. And you should know the moment your world change, you change. Isn’t that beautiful, ugh?
Alright, now that we established people will behave the way they want to in the workplace, let’s look at how we can deal with those people.
4 Simple Strategies on How to Deal With Difficult Employees:
1- Let Them Be Who They Are
Do not try to change and reshape them. Here’s what you say to yourself when they start giving you an attitude: “That’s just the way he is.” Have you ever tried to change people to see things the way you see them? Did you succeed? Were you frustrated? Guess what?
The more you try to change others, the more you hurt yourself; the more stress you create for yourself.
2- Do No Allow Them To Get Under Your Skin
What people say or do is just it. Everything else is your interpretation of the act or behavior. Really. It’s not what happens to us. It’s what we say to ourselves after it happens. Do you see what I mean? Shake your head and say, “yes”.
Most people love drama. They love to make a mountain out of a molehill. Someone says something and they go out and start creating or fabricating a whole story about what was said. As a result, the person that said it starts living under their skin. That’s insane! Stop it!
3- Feed Their Ego
This is a hard one. And I say this because some people think when we consciously feed someone’s ego, we are being weak. That is the complete opposite! Listen, what I’m telling you this is the magic pill to turn anyone into a piece of clay in your hand.
As soon as someone is trying to belittle or say mean things to you or about you, start showering them with kindness, compliments, or even gifts. They will feel weak! Try and you’ll the results. You will be in total control. Just don’t use it for manipulation.
4- Do Not Resist Them
Remember this: Whatever you persist will resist. That’s a natural law. Try to put something on the path of water and you’ll see how it builds momentum. That is how electricity is produced through the water. Extreme resistance creates raw power.
Here’s how you can try this: As soon as you get into an argument and it starts getting tense, tell the person, “I’m completely sorry. You are right.” Say it even if you think you are absolutely right. Now, I’m not saying to stand your ground for the truth. Although that are many other ways to skin that cat which I don’t have time to get into right now.
I just gave you four simple ways to handle difficult employees. But don’t just use them to deal with employees or co-workers. Use them to handle your personal friends and family members as well. The moment you begin to apply them in your life, your relationship with others will improve remarkably.
Your life will never be the same. The things that use to hurt you will cease to dwell in your head. People will want to be your friend. And best of all, the same people that use to irritate you, will be converted into pleasant individuals. They will behave differently. Now you see what I mean about when you change, the world changes.
Dealing with stress in the workplace is tough. Companies are demanding their employees to do more with less. People are not sure tomorrow their job will be around. It’s a crazy mess.
The main problem is fear. When you are the breadwinner and your company starts laying off their employees, it can be terrifying. Everyday people are asking themselves, “Am I next?”
The reality is where fear exists, progress stops. One cannot focus and give their best when they are afraid. The funny thing is companies are creating fear in the workplace and they are demanding their team members to perform at their best.
That is so stupid! If employees are going to perform at their best in the workplace, companies must find ways to remove fears for them. Now, I know it’s hard to completely remove fears. But for sure something can be done about it.
Alright, here’s how to eliminate your fear: (more…)