To fully appreciate why I’d write an article about “diminishing people,” it’s helpful to understand that the dictionary defines “diminish” as:
The given definitions raise the stakes considerably when one considers the effect that his or her associations with others—the wrong others—may have on their personal time, morale, and results. And while I suppose that it’s not politically correct to use a term like “diminishing people,” I should explain that I softened the verbiage considerably from my working title: “Dolts, Dullards & Derelicts,” which in some respects I still prefer. Frankly, to deny that diminishing people exist in most workplaces, or to dismiss that they have the potential to derail your day, week, month, or life, would be incredibly naïve. If you’re committed to growing yourself, your people, and your organization, it’s important to depart Pollyanna-land and face reality about certain individuals and respond accordingly; embracing those who elevate you, while you disassociate with those who have the potential to devastate you.
Understanding the impact of “diminish,” it should be clear why a productive person wouldn’t want to spend much time around a diminisher, as well as why a leader would shun hiring or keeping them. But sometimes you can be too close to diminishing people to discern that they do indeed diminish you, others, and your culture. While the five laws I’ll present apply to associations in all of life’s arenas, this particular article is intended to address diminishers in the workplace. To help you gain perspective as to who these folks might be, familiarize yourself withThe Five Laws of Diminishing People below:
The Five Laws of Diminishing People
Perhaps these might be worth reviewing with your team to help them evaluate their own tendency to either add value to others and their workplace, or to drain value from them.
If you share the workplace with diminishing people, spend much time around them, and allow them to influence you, they will affect you in the following progression:
Diminishing people are one of the many aspects of life that you must give up in order to go up. Even if you work at the desk right next to a diminishing person, you can limit the amount of time you spend listening to and dwelling on their words and deeds. You can also refuse to enable or encourage their diminishing language, attitudes, and actions by changing the subject or simply moving on to something else when they begin to infect your space.
Sadly, diminishing people are sometimes in your immediate or extended family. If you’re stuck with this unfortunate situation, I can only recommend the same three things that have helped me endure and survive like conditions: ear plugs, Advil, and Ambien.