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Tourism Tidbits Archive

Being Positive When Your Colleagues Are Negative

December 2015

Somehow no matter how much we may try to make December a happy month, there are always some people who tend to take a negative view on life.  In a business situation, such as tourism, negativity can be deadly. It is essential that not only front line personnel maintain an upbeat view of the world, but also those who work behind the scenes. The basic rule is that negativity not only breeds further negativity but also tends to be self-serving in that negative and pessimistic people tend to create self-fulfilling prophecies.  That is that the negative eventually overtakes the positive and thus justifying the original negative behavior. In fact more and more research shows that workplace negativity creates a toxic environment that has an adverse impact on everyone’s mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. In tourism, which is based on the positive attitudes, negative thought is a threat to the entire business enterprise. Tourism is all about being positive and turning even the worst situation into an adventure in time and space.

Although It can be hard to tell someone that he or she is always negative, but you can tell the person that you really need more positive engagement in your day and when saying it do not forget the basic rule of tourism: smile!

This month Tourism Tidbits provides you with the gift of how to deal with negative people and turning negativity into positive actions.  Below are some suggestions to brighten your month and deal with all types of negative people.

  • Always set boundaries.  Set boundaries. It is not your responsibility to engage with a negative co-worker. Kindly remind the person that you have to listen to customer complaints, but that no one is forced to work at this job and the option of seeking another job is always available. Let the complainer know that you are happy with your job and want to remain happy.
  • Avoid complainers. Learn who is a complainer in your office and accept the fact that these people will bring you down rather than raise you up. Chronic complainers are experts at turning creativity into failure and then blaming everyone but themselves.  The best technique may be avoidance: smile, be polite but keep your distance. Only deal with him or her if you absolutely must.
  • Choose your battles. Tourism seems to breed complaints and it is not your job to fight every battle. Sometimes the best defense with an angry customer or co-worker is simply refuse to fight.  The key is to realize that  people who fight every battle become bitter and turn negative.  Turn anger into laughter or simply state that this is a battle for another day.
    Instead of arguing, try to ignore any negative comments. Control your emotions and prevent the situation from escalating. It is perfectly all right to walk away from unnecessary conflict.
  • The Can’t Wait to tell you the bad news person.  These are the perhaps the most damaging of office people.  They thrive not only on gossip but also more importantly on negative gossip.  A good response is to inform the bearer of bad tidings that you would rather focus on the positive or on the solution rather than wallow in the negative. Turn the negative into positive actionsBy asking if there is something that you can do to improve the situation.
  • The Rumor generator is another danger to your organization. Because tourism tends to be a volunteeristic activity, it is open to what may seem to be a never-ending series of rumors.  Rumor spreaders love to tell us that the budget has been cut, that half the staff is to be fired, or that tourism receipts are reported to be down. Often these rumors are pure fabrications. When faced with rumors, ask for facts.  Ask questions such as: who told you?  How reliable is that person?  A second solution is to point out that these types of rumors make you sick and that until facts are established you would prefer not to hear the rumor.
  • Victims. Tourism seems to attract people who are victims.  Passengers often see themselves as victims, frontline personnel are often sure that they are victimized by both upper level management and by the tourist.  However, when told that there are other jobs or that they do not have to take the pleasure trip, most victims tend to shy away from turning their complaints into positive actions. People who are victims are never at fault, and the responsibility for a problem or crisis always belongs to another person.  Most people who fall into the victim category tend to blame co-workers, passengers, or customers for their problems, and exhibit high doses of egocentric thinking.  Try asking the person to tell you something positive. Even when dealing with an angry customer, see if you can turn a negative situation into a positive one by asking: so what was good about your experience? In the case of a co-worker who insists on being a victim, ask the person what he or she has learned from the situation and what s/he could have done better?
  • The over -analyzer.  Negative people can sometimes behave irrationally and you can over analyze their actions and thus turn yourself into a gossip.  In such cases give yourself a limited time to vent, say it and be done with it.  When a person over analyzes an issue, s/he wastes valuable time and energy. In most cases you will never make sense of the negative person’s actions, so do not try!   The key here as in all of tourism is do not become overly invested in an issue, empathize but do not sympathize.
  • Refuse to be negative but instead work at being positive.  Tourism is all about fun, joy and a sense of joie de vivre. Do not allow others to bring you down. When you engage in negative thought or with negative people, you not only hurt yourself but you hurt the entire tourism industry. Experts in tourism know that both being positive and being negative are contagious. So be positive and your co-workers and customers will not only thank you but also begin to put a smile on their faces.  The next time you feel yourself getting sucked into a negative black hole, refuse to enter and remember that tourism is all about getting the most out of life and in most cases it is about turning negative situations into moments of unanticipated joy