Summary: What does it take to be a positive force in the workplace? Stress and conflict are at an all-time high. I’ve been getting so many calls about conflict at work and even in communities. Here’s how to be a positive contributor at work.
Dear Dr. Sylvia,
Are we becoming a more argumentative society, or are we simply revealing what hides away deep down, and now is the time for more truth?
In many workplaces, people seem much more contentious than helpful. They are more negative than positive.
Having a positive attitude needs to be worked at every day.
As a leader, I am stuck.
For instance, how do I help people stop focusing on what is NOT working? They do this more than consider what is working. Pure frustration!
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.
Did you ever wonder why some people are exceptionally emotionally accident-prone? They come to work with a dark cloud over their head, dripping rain, and constantly frowning while others stand in the sunshine next to them.
In my research about what makes some individuals so happy and cheerful and others so sullen and nasty, I have found some patterns that need to be reversed. You can find the top 13 patterns that get in the way of success in “Don’t Bring It To Work.”
As a result, I found that repetition of the positive has tons of merit. And yes, practice makes perfect.
Fear and self-doubt get in the way of being positive.
Subsequently, I’ve made a checklist of 7 ways to make sure at least you can be a positive force in the workplace and not succumb to the negativity that is another pollutant in the world.
- Use positive language: Words have energy. See those that inspire rather than ones that can cause unnecessary fireworks. Words like hope, appreciate, and care gets situations moving past the log jam of words like impossible, alone, and pessimistic.
- Expect respect: Give what you want to get. The simple rule is always to say please, and thank you and call people by their given names. These basic rules make a world of difference in talking with each other. It may sound simplistic. It’s not. It’s good manners.
- Don’t take the bait: Stay with facts, not personalities. If someone wants to derail a conversation and starts to gossip, ask them, “What do you want me to do with this information” rather than adding to the mix.
- Fly above the clouds: Hold yourself accountable, say what you mean, and do what you say. Be clear and clean in your communication and use a sentence like “Here is what I commit to doing.” And then DO IT.
- Be authentic: Admit your vulnerability if you are unsure about a situation or the discussion. One moment of “Help me understand” will trump hours of clean-up work.
- Check your assumptions: Always ask questions to ensure you and others are on the same page. Say, “I would rather not assume, is this what you meant,” and ask for clarity. It will save a lot of grief.
- Create change: You know you can’t change another person. However, you can change the direction of a conversation or change your perspective. You know it’s working if you or someone else says, “Wow, I never thought of it that way before.”
Have a morning ritual of appreciation to stay positive.
Think of it this way.
Life is too short to spend your time in harmful, destructive, or wasteful ways of reacting. It’s far better to be a positive force than a deadly force in the workplace.
Even if things start badly, you can turn your behavior to the positive by remembering the guidelines above to shape your responses.
We are in a time of constant change. We are in what I call “the ugly middle.” That means the old ways no longer work, and the new methods are not yet precise.
Staying positive during times of intense change takes determination.
You have to be mindful and look closely. Look for signs of anything positive. You can find them.
For example, there are still positive signs even after the earth changes because of a flood, tornado, or gas explosion. This is when people help each other. We are more prone to extend a hand to a stranger. Be one who offers to assist in the clean-up.
After that, you and those you help will take a deep breath and see the good in each other.
Being positive is not for the faint of heart in difficult times.
The mental and emotional muscles for being positive are in each of us. They need to be exercised, just like the physical body.
Lead by example. You can learn by watching others who stand in the rain and with full confidence, know there will be a rainbow. Be a rainbow seeker.
Here’s to your success,
PS. Hey, take the Stress Quiz and see where you are on the “Be better, not bitter scale!” Then, read a complimentary excerpt from the companion book “Invisible Stress” and find the best ways to stay positive.