You can find mood hoovers everywhere, including at work. They are always pessimistic and critical, draining the energy out of everyone around them. We all have our bad days, but mood hoovers tend to be permanently negative and can be severely detrimental to the overall performance of your workforce. So how can you defuse a mood hoover and pull the plug on their problematic behaviour? Here are 6 ways to stop mood hoovers from dominating your office space.
Pinpoint the mood hoovers
Mood hovers are all destructive, but to varying degrees and in different ways. A mood hoover at the office is usually critical of everything, painfully dramatic or completely convinced of having more burdens than anyone else. You know someone is a mood hoover when interacting with them leaves you exhausted or frustrated. Identifying your mood-hooving employees, and how their behaviour is impacting your company, will help you to better address the problem.
Limit the time you spend with them
Before addressing the mood hoovers, manage the time you spend with them so as to minimise their negative influence on you and your work. It’s rarely possible to avoid them completely. So be aware of where you typically encounter them and limit your interaction with them. This doesn’t mean that you should merely escape the problem.
Mood hoovers tend to constantly interrupt others for help to try and solve their own problems. So learn to say NO to them, and instead encourage them to work through their problems. Helping mood hoovers to become more self-reliant can help them improve and flourish on their own terms.
Promote a positive environment
Emotions are contagious. If there is a negative person on your team, you have the power to reverse their mood polarity. Don’t underestimate improving their outlook on work life by projecting more optimism at the office. This can-do attitude has to start from the top management, and trickle down to the rest of your workforce, including those mood hoovers. When a boss is motivated and encouraging, it sets off a domino effect of confidence and positivity.
Don’t feed the beast
No matter how frustrating their behaviour can be, do not respond to mood hoovers by sharing your own negative comments with them, because that is what they thrive on. Don’t feel that you need to reciprocate or empathise with them if their negativity is getting out of hand. Try to change the subject, or else look for something positive to say related to what they are complaining about.
Allow them space
The only person who can change the negative behaviour of a mood hoover is that same mood hoover. Taking it upon yourself to try and change them for the better will only lead to more issues emerging, and to your energy levels suffering as well. They might simply enjoy being mood hoovers around the office, but it might also be their own problematic way of dealing with stress. If your attempts to encourage them to be positive have been in vain, give them time to breathe and take in your suggestions. Eventually, it might click for them!
Challenge their behaviour calmly
This isn’t about generating conflict, which is the last thing you’d want to bring to the office. This means taking your colleague to one side to try and understand why they are being negative, and how you can help them overcome their frustrations. If they are forthcoming, you can provide them with more guidance and gradually help them improve their attitude. They might genuinely not even be aware of their behaviour’s effect on the rest of the team. However, you ought to also expect excuses and a defensive demeanour.
You cannot have both a positive life and a negative mind. Ensuring that none of your employees are draining each other’s energy and de-motivating one another’s performance is truly essential. This doesn’t mean that you have to immediately let the mood hoovers go and treat them as a hopeless case. It’s more about putting yourself in their shoes, and recognising how your positivity can help them get on the same page as you.
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