Have you ever tried leaving a decaying apple to stay with other apples? Even one bad apple will affect the other apples around it, which would lead them - even the best-looking ones - to start deteriorating as well. If you allowed the condition enough longer, you would end up with nothing but a bunch of rotten apples.
The moral of the ‘fun fact’ above is that one bad apple can spoil the whole barrel, and this also applies on teamwork, that one person with bad attitude or negative behavior can have a destructive effect and ruin a good team. Unfortunately, there are numbers of this kind of person everywhere, including in my team back in my last company I worked for.
Ironically, the bad apple is not always someone who people bluntly avoid to be with. In my case, this person was a popular party maker (or at least thought that she was) who was always among the crowd. Sad truth is, her ‘friends’ laughed at her jokes, but also bad mouth about her. This rotten apple could spend hours talk trash about one person to another, only to have her self gossiped about by the listening parties the moment she turned her back.
Working with a bad apple can be very painful. S/he could complain all the time about everything in the company, including the system, the people, the policies, the company events, and even the culture. She passed most of the works to her assistant or other people all the time, claiming all the credits, and post things on Facebook or Instagram or Path with pictures or captions portraying how she had to have a late dinner, or got sick, as if she was busy day and night so that people would think that she was such a hard worker. Sounds familiar?
"Good attitudes among players do not guarantee a team's success, but bad attitudes guarantee its failure."
The way a rotten apple complains endlessly without proposing any solutions, or being irrational, or speak unfavorably about others (probably including you) would affect anyone else in the team that we could end up getting dragged into the same negativity that this person brings. In my case, we gradually welcomed the idea of refusing to adjust to what the company had to offer. Instead of getting a sense of belonging to what we do and where we work, we compared the company with our previous workplaces, and became grumpy with statements like, “The system here is the worst” or “You can’t find anything this bad anywhere else.” Like gravity, getting dragged down is always easier than having yourself pulled up, and a bad apple are like a dead weight whose negative energy sucks our life like a black hole.
If this situation sounds pretty similar with what you face at the office, that you have a bad apple as a colleague or coworker, don't worry! You can check the 3 tips below which can be used as the strategies to deal with such, and stay happy.:
1. Try to Understand
Negativity could come as the consequences of someone’s background. It could be because of the unhappy marriage, insecurity, ugly childhood, and the list would continue to infinity. I didn’t say that you should make sense of their toxic attitudes, but at least by comprehending where it came from, it hopefully would help as a self reminder that what happened in our past may be portrayed on our current attitude, and it also make it easier for you to let go and move on with your life when they try to get under your skin.
2. Set Boundaries
Since s/he is your colleague, you have to work with the person everyday no matter how you wish to be completely detached from him/her. However, you can still put some limits on the amount of time you spend with the person, and stay in low engagement with him/her, otherwise her bad attitude would affect yours and her unhappiness could drain you to have the same feeling too.
3. Be Wise
Do NOT try to entertain the negativity. Some bad apples are often (if not always) looking for conflicts, and you would want to keep your emotions controlled to avoid yourself from getting caught in an empty drama and end up exhausted. Seriously, there are thousands other things that are more worthy to think of or deal with.