While you might bring positivity into the workplace, a few of your coworkers might not check their problems at the door. Dealing with the mood swings of coworkers can sometimes feel like another workload -- but you can’t let those “Debbie downers” affect your productivity. Acknowledging their moody tendencies is the first step to gaining back control -- and ensuring a positive work environment for not only yourself, but also for other coworkers.
It’s Her, Not You
It's not unusual to have at least one coworker who internalizes everything that happens to her. Typically, if you look at this type of person in what she perceives as the wrong way, it immediately impacts the rest of her day. In cases like this, keep your distance. If you sense that an overly sensitive coworker is in a sour mood -- and it shows in her attitude towards you -- remember that it's nothing personal. It's her problem, not yours. The sooner you can forget about her moody attitude, the quicker you can get back to work.
Setting Clear Boundaries
When someone at your job decides to take her personal problems out on you, it's time to set clear boundaries in your work relationship. While you might listen to her complain about her life, you must make it clear that it's not okay for her to act out. While you might empathize with her situation, be vocal about how her moodiness and actions make you feel -- and how they affect the morale of the office.
Play Your Own Game
If a coworker's moodiness translates into a constant backtalk, snapping, or ignoring others or her responsibilities, you can confront her on the spot, or wait for the right opportunity to address the issue. When her negatively first surfaces, you can confront her casually, saying that you noticed a change in her tone -- and can sense that she's unhappy. Then, you can offer suggestions, such as seeking supportive help, re-prioritizing certain aspects her life, or finding a better work environment that will better suit her needs. She might then take the time to self-evaluate, see how she’s been coming across lately and nip her attitude in the bud. She might even listen to your advice and seek professional help.
No Excuses Policy
If your coworker is in a bad mood, there's nothing you can do about how she feels. There is something you can do about accepting poor teamwork. If your coworker’s irritability affects her performance and collaborative work during projects, then her moodiness is creating a problem for the business. At this point, you should address management about her attitude; she need to take accountability for how her mood swings affect her work responsibilities.
Cooper Veeris holds a bachelor's degree in English from Fordham University and lives in New York City. In addition to contributing regularly to various websites as a writer, she has experience teaching different populations and age groups including early childhood, junior high and high school students, and adults living with mental illnesses.