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Bad apples: How to handle that one pessimistic person who always brings you down

The phrase "one bad apple spoils the whole bunch" typically is the cliché most associated with that one person, whether it is a co worker, family member or friend, that seemingly always has to find the fault in something or dig deeply for the underlying negativity in just about any situation put in front of them.
Call them toxic, pessimistic or the "Debbie Downer" of the group, but just that lone soul can suck the life out of a work related project, family gathering or just a group of friends hanging out incredibly quick with just a few words.
So how do you deal with these toxic people?
Chances are, your first inclination is to ignore them, but that often is easier said than done, particularly when you're talking about the work environment. That said, distancing yourself from the negativity that is inner office discussion from this person often is your best bet, especially if this is a fellow co worker. If this bad apple of sorts is one of your employees and you're the boss, you can't just ignore the problem or their behavior.
It needs addressed and simply can't be overlooked. How you come to grips with this person and ultimately handle their less than superior attitude truly makes the difference between how they'll act moving forward.

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Of course, there is no guarantee that the poor behavior is going to stop instantly, but it won't fuel their negative fire, either.
As a supervisor, you want to make sure your employees are heard. But a lot of what comes out of these negative people is just idle chatter with no real point behind anything they're saying. Bosses tend to listen too much and try to be too sympathetic, when the goal of the conversation is to put the onus on them to come up with their own solution.
Complaining that is relevant often has an answer that can be deduced through either back and forth discussion or enough wherewithal to work through this roadblock. The overtly negative people want to complain because it is easier than actually figuring out a solution. That's when you, as a boss, need to ask them point blank: "How are you going to fix this?" That question is potent if you know as the supervisor or manager that the issue they're squabbling about is able to be fixed by them, without much involvement or coaching from you.
See how they react the next time you turn their tiresome, tirade into a task, and you'll know if you're dealing with pure negativity if the rambling and ranting continues without making much sense or if they go quiet, knowing full well they've probably created the problem or are just adding to it.

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