How to Deal with Negative Co-workers

In life, you may always come across difficult situations, bosses, or co-workers. Working with a negative co-worker is like a bad apple. This can affect your whole team in many ways right down to the core. So how do you approach people with a bad attitude?

Overcoming work obstacles and negative employees can not only improve your confidence and mood but also improve your work environment.

If you are starting to feel unhappy due to working with a negative person what can you do? Here are some tips that have helped me over the years and in general.

1) Dealing with a Negative Co-Worker

The consequences of working with a negative co-worker can include absence, the A players won’t want to put up with negativity, even if other areas of your job have perks. These negative people generally affect the whole team so people will prefer to not work with that person.

An employee will then spend more time focusing on staying away from a negative employee, tiptoeing around them, leading to more conflict, and less trust. Resources will be spent on trying to manage the problem because a team will be less cohesive and not able to solve problems.

Teamwork and productivity cannot thrive if there is negativity in the air. Even if it is just one or more people, it can spread like fire.

According to a study at Georgetown University,

A negative coworker affects you up to seven times more than a co-worker who spreads nothing but good cheer.

When you’re in a place where people are always complaining about their job or their boss. It can start to take its toll on you as well as others. Unfortunately, this then leads to a ripple effect on a whole office or workplace, leading to lower morale if these signs aren’t picked up on. If you feel confident enough raise this concern with your leaders so the matter can begin to be resolved.

Leaving the situation can only make things worse.

2) It Affects Customers

If you have an unhappy co-worker, they’re most likely going to reflect this with their customers which can tend to damage a companies reputation. If someone isn’t happy with their job, they tend to tell the whole world about it! I have heard many stories. I have a good sense of humour, and yes I enjoy memes.

honest employee.png

I can sympathise with those in stressful roles, but if this transfers over to your customers. Uh oh. It’s fine to vent and release stress to your friends or co-workers to those customers that test your sanity. But there is a time and a place for it. If you notice it happening around you, the best thing you can do is try to speak up about it politely in a non-confrontational way.

3) The Ripple Effect

Unfortunately, for leaders, it can be hard to confront such an issue. However, if this isn’t nipped in the bud, other employees will begin to wonder what is going on and start to feel resentment. Leading to more negativity! This is even harder for big companies such as supermarkets, where it’s hard to understand the dynamics and concerns of each employee.

For all those hard workers out there, when a high performer is surrounded by negative attitudes, they’re 13 times more likely to leave their position than they are to be dragged down with the people around them. Crazy! This is awesome for those high performers with strong work ethic, but not so good for a company wanting to keep the best talent.


As they say, a manager’s behaviour is the model for their employees. How they treat each other, and how they work as a team. Which is why setting boundaries can help to create the right company culture.

4) Stay Positive

So if you’re torn between loving your job and accelerating with your career, but also wondering why you feel down all of a sudden. It’s a tough battle. Negative people are generally wanting people to take notice of their disappointment and frustration. It can help to understand why they may be feeling this way in the first place.

I try to tell myself if I am in a negative mindset at work after a tough customer, for example, go for a walk. Take some fresh air. Use this energy for complaining and turn it into productivity.

Setting boundaries yourself, and open communication can make it clear you feel positive about your role. Regardless of how the negative person takes it, you will have at least set a good example. I really admire people who tell it like it is. In a way that isn’t rude of course. Keep it professional and be a shining light!

Being positive in a negative situation isn’t being naive, it’s leadership.

5) Avoid Arguing 

Trying to argue with a negative person will drain your energy and get you nowhere. If someone has a pessimistic view this is totally fine, and they’re less likely to change if this was their attitude before walking into the company. It’s not fine if it’s counterproductive and causing consequences for the rest of your team.

In New Zealand, 86% of employees felt satisfied with their jobs. Versus those who weren’t satisfied. You’re less likely to win an argument literally, even if you throw some statistics in there.

6) Reinforce Encouragement

Whether it’s from your co-workers or your leaders, encouragement can go a long way. It can show negative co-workers they’re a valuable asset to the team. This can simply be a compliment or a comment on how well that person is doing. Especially if they are struggling or feeling down about it. It may take time, but it’s important to try and build a relationship. When it’s a genuine reinforcement, these employees negative attitudes will hopefully begin to change by being shown they are cared about.



Focus on what you can change. Good advice I was given. At the end of the day, while it can be hard to handle negative people in all walks of life, it can also be rewarding. If you are happy with your job and can stay motivated things can look up. On the other hand, if you have tried everything and you dread going to work, it may not be the right culture or fit for you. At the end of the day don’t be brought down by other people’s behaviour.

Keep up the great work!



3 thoughts on “How to Deal with Negative Co-workers

      1. You are welcome Nadia 😊. Your blog is really awesome and inspiring. You have a great gift within you.Please continue blogging and inspire people around you 😊. And if you can please do visit my blog and let me know about it. It would be really helpful 😊. This is the link to my blog


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