10 Ways To Avoid Being Labeled a Complainer At Work

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How many of you have been on a team at work where the negative energy gets hard to take day in and day out? I know I certainly have.

Negativity within a team is contagious, and once one person becomes negative, it can be detrimental to even the most successful teams.

It’s much easier to blame external factors when things go wrong at work. Remaining positive is something that you have to continually strive for. However, being labeled as a complainer can have disastrous consequences on your career.

In fact, science tells us that complaining can be habit forming and set you on a course for continued failure.

World-renown author, scientist, and philosopher, Steven Parton, has explored how complaining leads to negative emotions that can have long-term effects on the brain.

He notes, “if you’re always complaining and belittling your own power, in reality, you will not think you have the power to change it. And thus it will never change.”

Why is it that the most successful people remain confident even in moments when it would appear that everything is crashing down around them?

It’s simple, the people that truly love what they do are often times the most successful. The people that love what they do are the most productive.

However, people don’t start out in a job they love; it’s a journey to get there. For most, that journey includes taking positions that are not glamorous and performing what they consider to be “grunt work.”

Staying positive at work becomes much harder when you don’t love it. Here are ten tips that will help you keep a positive attitude at work throughout your journey and achieve the reputation of being a team player that contributes to the success of the organization.

1) Avoid office politics

Stay away from the drama, instead be compassionate with those having a hard time. Avoid getting involved in side conversations where teammates are saying disparaging things about each other. Instead of contributing to the drama, show some sympathy but keep the focus on what needs to get done.

2) Be positive at the office

Place the focus on your positive emotions and infuse it into your work each day.

3) Stay positive on social media too

Most people today are allowing co-workers into their networks on social media. This means you need to be careful about what you post. If you are one of those people that are constantly complaining on social media and sharing negative posts, consider how that looks to your peers at work.

4) Be on point in meetings

Make a point to be on time and be prepared to contribute. Stay off your phone and be an active listener by maintaining eye contact with those speaking at all times.

5) Support your colleagues

Always congratulate your colleagues on a job well done. And when it’s your time to receive accolades make sure to mention those on the team that contributed and share the credit appropriately.

6) Strive to be a resource

Consider using downtime to listen to podcasts, read blogs or other content that is relevant to what your team is working on. Share this information with teammates. Not only could the info you provide contribute to a breakthrough, but it shows that you are dedicated to the subject matter at hand beyond when you are required to be.

7) Be coachable

Criticism is unavoidable and everyone must deal with it at some point. Learning how to do it gracefully is a skill. Don’t attack and get overly defensive.

8) Adapt to change

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my career is that things change and those that can’t accept or adapt get left behind.

9) Don’t be a lone wolf

Spend time with your team and be social. I’m not saying you have to eat lunch with the team every time and hit every happy hour, but placing yourself in isolation will create trust issues. Instead, spend some time with your team getting to know them and building a bond.

10) Stay professional on email

Be prompt in your replies, but never send email when you’re angry. If you type a reply when you’re angry about something, wait for 24-hours and see if you still want to respond. Once cooler heads prevail, chances are you will no longer want to send the message as is and either change will be made, or the message will be deleted.

When it comes to your reputation at work, once you get labeled a complainer it can be very hard to overcome. Make sure to be positive and give yourself the best opportunity to succeed.