How To React To Negative Behavior In Your Working Environment

When you work in an office with other people, you are bound to encounter many types of co-workers, including negative people with bad behavior. The way that you react to these people and their behavior will shape your working experience (and also contribute to the reputation that you build for yourself).

It can be very challenging dealing with difficult people and situations at work, mainly because work is a very stressful place to be already. This career advice‘s post on Jobandedu will explore this topic in greater detail, explaining exactly how you should react to negative behavior in your working environment.

Proper Training

If you are a manager or the owner of a business, then you need to train your staff to behave properly. If you train your staff to behave, then negative behavior won’t be an issue for you. Code of conduct and ethics training increases awareness and teaches staff what is and what isn’t acceptable in a professional setting.

In addition to teaching staff to be more mindful of their behavior, this kind of training will also teach staff strategies that they can use to deal with bad behavior on the part of their colleagues.

Well-trained staff are flexible to deal with bad behavior. Source: Unsplash

Identify Positives

In everything negative that’s done and said, there is always a positive. When you are working with other people and they are behaving badly, try to look at the positives of the situation. One positive, for example, might be that if a colleague is behaving badly, then supervisors and managers will see that you are calm, collected, and well-behaved, which will increase your chances of getting a promotion. If you are able to identify positives in negative situations, then you will become a much happier and more relaxed person.

Distance Yourself

When colleagues aren’t behaving respectfully or positively, you should try to distance yourself from them. Sometimes, you may be eager to quit the job on the spot due to these stories. But, calm down!

One of the reasons for this is that if managers identify troublemakers, they are likely to punish them all collectively, to stamp out bad behavior. If you are grouped in with them then you can get punished as well, even if you haven’t done anything.

Distance yourself from the situation physically and emotionally. If they are behaving badly around you then move somewhere else; if they are behaving badly as a unit don’t involve yourself in what they are doing. You may also want to complain about them to further illustrate that you are not involved.

Helpful Resources

If a staff member is complaining or is being negative, then you could refer them to resources that could be of use to them. If you are just a junior-level employee and have no real power (or access to resources), then you could consider referring them to a more senior staff member who would be more able to help them.

If you are a senior staff member then do everything that you can to provide the unhappy employee with resources that can help them. Providing helpful resources can help to resolve their issue and also increase your bond with that employee.

Listen To Them

Sometimes, people are negative because they aren’t being listened to. This is very common in workplaces. If employees feel as though they aren’t being paid attention to or that they have no voice, they may begin complaining and not behaving professionally.

Every employee should have a voice, even if their role is insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Make sure that you take the time to listen to what they have to say, and if they are saying something that’s actually useful, then thank them and commend them for their assistance.

Listen To Them
Let your co-workers speak up what they desire and contribute equally. Source: Unsplash


Another common reason for employees to be negative is if they are not being listened to in a team. If you are working in a team with other employees and one specific person has a bad attitude, then it could be because they are not being listened to. If you suspect this to be the case, then listen to them, and compromise. It’s a lot easier to compromise with people than it is to just ignore them.. Ignoring people will only ever lead to fallouts and arguments, especially when you are working as part of a group.

Positive Mindset

A positive mindset is essential. When people are being negative or are behaving badly around you, being positive will help you to focus on what you are doing, and not get drawn into other people’s problems. It’s not always easy to have a positive mindset but it is important to have one. One effective way of developing a positive mindset is to practice things like meditation, which you can do at home. In addition to doing meditation at home, you can also perform breathing exercises at work when people are negative, which can help you to transform and improve your mood.

Set Boundaries

In a professional setting, you always need to set boundaries. You should set boundaries for colleagues and for employers. If your boss is trying to get you to work overtime but isn’t paying you extra for example, then you should let them know that you aren’t interested in doing this. Similarly, if colleagues are trying to make your relationship in the workplace more personal or aren’t being professional themselves, then set boundaries and tell them that you only share a workplace relationship and nothing more—and that they need to behave accordingly.

Remain Professional

Finally, no matter what anybody at work does, be as professional as possible. If an employee is having a tantrum or is gossiping, have no involvement. If you remain professional your colleagues may not like you, but your managers most certainly will. Professional and emotionally detached employees tend to do a lot better at work than people who are constantly involving themselves in silly situations and gossiping. If you have any issues with any of your colleagues or you find their behavior inappropriate, make sure that you report directly to your manager and explain what they are doing, and ask your manager to talk to them on your behalf.

Negative behavior in your working environment can make completing daily tasks and even going to work very difficult if you don’t know how to deal with it. Thankfully, dealing with negative behavior is very simple once you know what you are doing. Be professional, set boundaries, and compromise when you can.

Charlotte Antalia

Charlotte decided to become a full-time freelancer, and she has a strong urge to polish her style and pursuit a content-based career path. In her writing career, she adopts her years of experience in education and financial institution to create far-out reads from job interviews' tips, work, and business strategies. Better yet, her personal experience navigating career switching and tactics to deal with the work environment hurdles will bring practical, precious expertise and command to all readers. Off we go and get the vibe!