We spend at work many hours of our day. If the workplace is full of negative influence which consists of small daily acts of social exclusion, psychological violence or professional sabotage, this can seriously affect our well-being or even our health.
Energy vampires, to feel powerful at work, are vital energy suckers. They are expert and covert manipulators who, to turn to their own advantage, try to psychologically submit others.
The lack of a strong self-esteem and of awareness of their talents generate in those who have to deal with an energy vampire, a dangerous and passive acceptance mechanism: the victim, in fact, prefers to suffer rather than face the fear of rejection and marginalization, even if this means canceling as workers or worse as human beings.
How to effectively defend themselves then? We must assert our self-esteem, recovering or increasing self-love and self-respect.
These words sound good, but in practice … how do we reaffirm our dignity and self-respect? Let’s see some examples.
When the energy vampire is a colleague:
THE STOPPER – to end your business or carry on a process you need a ride from him or his “ok” or his signature. And all the time he stops the activity for an infinite time with excuses and trivial reasons … his mantra are “this is not possible” and “cannot.” HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF: in this case you have to skip the step at the stopper. If your boss is a true leader you can bring this situation to his attention by documenting the savings in time and money that would bring to society change this process. Leaders appreciate those who want to improve and those who bring real solutions! Point out to your boss the opportunities you are proposing and always be kind to everyone.
THE COMPLAINER- those who constantly complain because of stress, tension and discomfort.
Stanford University research confirms that listening for more than 30 minutes to contents of “negativity” harms your brain. In fact complaints are processed in the hippocampus (that part of the brain dedicated to cognitive functions which is normally used to solve problems) and its presence causes a removal of neurons. The consequences are obvious: you lose your creativity and the ability to easily solve problems or get out of critical situations using your imagination. By listening to complaints our brain neurons are in danger and discomfort is guaranteed. HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF: If the relationship with the person who is complaining is important to you, you can encourage him/her to action. If he never acts to improve or heal you will know with certainty that his purpose is purely to complain. In general it is better to avoid negative people who always complain or who speak only of tragedy or negative news. A good idea is to buy some headphones and listen to chilling music to keep the focus on your goals and not hear complaints. Also be authentic will be of help: you can learn to say with kindness and firm determination that you do not need to listen to complaints or negative news. You can mention Stanford study!
THE SMEAR CAMPAIGN PROMOTER- unfortunately there are always people who lead others to smear campaigns. The purpose is to destroy your reputation so that some rights will be denied to you. HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF: the first thing to do is not to give personal information to those who slander you for no reason. When you are talking about yourself or your work always beware that there are witnesses: it is good practice not to have interviews or private meetings with defamers. The result of your work should always be documented in written reports or email, traceable, visible and understandable to all. Learn how to enhance your work, advertising it in an honest and consistent way. Keep documentation linked to facts and expose it to colleagues to defend yourself against the slanderer’s black propaganda.
THOSE WHO DEPRECIATE YOUR WORK – those who try to prove you incompetent and constantly disparage what you do. HOW TO DEFEND YOPURSELF: Expose your skills, your titles earned after years of study and accomplishments. Keep a diary with the chronology of activities carried out daily. The more control you have on your agenda and the greater your feeling of freedom and autonomy would be. Continue to work with commitment and grit and, if you are criticized, do not get angry. Smile and breathe and listen, while remaining indifferent and detached. Do not give emotional responses to energy vampires, they love to provoke them.
THE TIMEWASTER – there are people who transform a 10 minutes coffee break in an hour of small talk. They could be nice guys, however they are stealing to you the most precious thin: time. Do not put yourself in a situation when you have to hurry finishing your job because you have wasted time in small talk! HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF: the solution is simple, but it must be done: you must say openly that you do not want to waste time, or you can set your phone ringing, pretending to have an appointment … get to the optimal management of your time!
THE FALSE ALLY – he/she is a co-worker with whom you cooperate, perhaps even in a productive way, but in the end he takes the results of your work. The false ally smiles at you, he is your friend and in the end he takes your job. HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF: in cases like this, every time your boss commissioned a task to you, you must deliver 10% more to your boss. Be brilliant, be punctual and excel. The false ally does not possess your expertise and skills, otherwise he would not need to ally with someone to take his ideas and copy his abilities. Be outstanding and he will succumb and will be forgotten.
If the energy vampire is YOUR BOSS HOW CAN YOU DEFEND YOURSELF? If the bloodsucker is your boss, I guess you need to change job. It will take a few months, maybe a year, but it’s time to send out your CV to find a better job that values your talents. It’s time to invest in yourself: attend world class and acquire new skills. It’s the right time to devote yourself to fitness as well and get in shape to keep up the level of your health and vitality and start a new job. If you have the chance ask for flexible hours or part-time to devote to a project you care about. If you have entrepreneurial skills you can achieve it. Try to stay open to new possibilities, this situation is only temporary.
Every problem has a solution. It just takes a little patience and the belief that every difficult situation is a valuable opportunity for personal growth.
Here is a MANTRA you can write down or repeat to yourself: “My happiness and productive life does not depend on others, but on my commitment and my skills!”. You can also write down on a sheet your top 5 skills, review them and devote yourself to improve them every day.