How to deal with grumpy people in the office

A woman with long hair and glasses has a pencil in her mouth and is looking angrily at a laptop screen

3 ideas from business expert Michael Kerr for a pleasant coexistence with colleagues with no sense of humor

It is not easy to deal with negative employees who shy away from any fun activities in the workplace and crush one’s efforts to do something more colorful and different in the office. You want to try something more festive, slightly goofy or silly; something you’ve never done before to break the atmosphere and for fun. Because you know humor is an asset in business. But then there will always be someone who says, “Wow, that’s so dumb!” 

Here are 3 tips on how to deal with those who get in the way of the fun. They are given by Michael Kerr – Canadian business coach, lecturer, creator of the Academy for Cultural Leadership and author of 8 books on creative strategies. 

A dog with glasses in front of the book
PHOTO: Unsplash

Try to include the killjoys for the cause

Sometimes grumpy people are like that because they don’t feel empathy, they’ve never been asked to contribute or give advice, and the only way they can express their frustration is to slander your idea. So include them in your meetings, invite them to give their opinion. In general, make sure that when you create fun events, everyone on the team feels invited to participate. But: without feeling forced to do it if they don’t like it, because forced entertainment isn’t funny. 

A man and a woman sitting by an office table with a laptop on it and high five
PHOTO: Unsplash

Inspire them

Explain why you do what you do, why it matters, why it’s important to add some humor to the workplace, and why it’s important to let off steam with laughter sometimes, even if the humor is a little silly. Talk to themwhat inspires them and if not that, how do they imagine the fun side of life? From there, go back to the first suggestionto include them. 

A white sheet of paper on which is written - better an Oops than a What if
PHOTO: Unsplash

Ignore them

Don’t let them ruin the good mood. Don’t focus on those employees who suck the fun out of the workplace, but focus on the people who want to add some energy and bring more passion to the team, try new things, even if they are sometimes goofy. 

Brick wall and glowing sign: Be so good they can't ignore you
PHOTO: Unsplash


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