Hidden Energy Drains At Your Office

If you’ve worked for any amount of time, you have been in this position….your day is packed with meetings, emails, phone calls and deadlines. For some reason, your energy is tanking just when you need to kick it into high gear and get things done. It doesn’t hit most of us at first…that constant drain on our work energy…the office vampire. It generally takes a bit of time to catch on to the insideous behavior….slowly, you begin to recognize the problem.

It’s an employee, a co-worker, an associate or someone mid-stream in their working interview. Once recognized, what can you do to protect your energy during the day? Here are a few ideas we’ve utilized in our office. Let us know how they work for you.

1. Identified: The Energy Vampire

DON’T: Let negativity become your go-to response. There’s nothing more draining than a boss or coworker who is constantly negative. We call them “energy vampires.” They are never happy, rarely supportive and constantly whining and nay-saying any and all ideas and suggestions that aren’t their own. According to them, you might as well give up before you start. Ughhh.

DO: Be positive and supportive when someone offers up an idea. Even if you know more about a particular project, have more experience than the rest of your team or are positive that the suggestions others are making are off the mark, hear them out. Let employees and coworkers know that when they come to you with their ideas, they’ll be heard with an open mind and received with respect. Insist that everyone else practice positivity as well. While negativity squelches creativity and initiative, an encouraging attitude will keep creative juices flowing and encourage constructive dialogue.

2. The Never-Ending Complain Train

DON’T: Give in to the temptation to whine or complain. It’s a well-known phenomenon that can have catastrophic consequences: One person’s complaint resonates with someone else, who then proceeds to add grievances to the pile, which prompts yet another individual to throw in her two (negative) cents…and so on. Before you know it, everyone is complaining and any work that gets done thereafter is marred by a bad attitude. Unfortunately, it’s HIGHLY contagious….and, tough to get under control if left untreated.

DO: Come up with solutions. The next time a break room conversation threatens to barrel out of control into Complaint Central, step in and ask the complainees how they would make things better. Best idea – make a firm rule that whining and complaining is OUT. PERIOD. It’s tough love for sure – but it will also create and sustain a positive culture.

3. The Serial-Killer Voicemail (or Email)

DON’T: Leave critical or harsh messages on voicemail or send them to an email inbox. Nine times out of ten, these critiques seem much more vehement and condemnatory than they actually are. Plus, any communication you send via electronic methods can potentially last forever. Not only could your words come back to haunt you, they’ll also be a constant reminder to your coworker or employee of his or her supposed shortcomings. In other words, you’ve just trashed (forever) any chance of a long-term relationship with this co-worker. Think it through…

DO: Suck it up and conduct the tough talks in person. If you need to have a stern talk with someone or if you need to talk through a conflict or problem, do it in person if at all possible. You’ll be able to ensure that your words and tone aren’t misinterpreted and you’ll be able to immediately have a constructive chat with the other person. By talking about ways to improve, you can end the conversation on a positive and encouraging note. I don’t know about you (I’ve certainly been guilty – hand up here), but how many times have you dashed off a quick text to someone thinking you are being clear…..only to get a text back full of hurt feelings or misunderstandings. As great and convenient as technology is these days…the BEST way to handle conflict or tough talks is in person and face-to-face.

If you suspect a “drainer” personality in your office or practice, we can help your team handle it in a professional and kind manner. Reach out.Reach out.


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