“The pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
- Winston Churchill, former British prime minister
It seems logical that positive people would be more productive than negative people. The National Resource Center (NRC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services characterizes negativity as a virus. You know how flu and colds spread throughout an office? Negativity spreads just as fast. In fact, a steadily negative atmosphere leads to tardiness, absenteeism, dissatisfaction, errors—and on and on. On the other hand, a positive work environment leads to greater productivity and, thus, profitability.
So, how do you create a positive workplace? It starts with leaders and managers who are consistently positive in their actions, speech and attitude.
1. Praise often and sincerely.
Take time to notice good performance in action. Get out of your office and visit your team. Praise people who are doing a good job to reinforce positive performance. Acknowledge personal achievements. Congratulate an employee who bought a home or whose child recently graduated. This type of recognition energizes your team, enhances motivation and shows appreciation. All of this helps create a positive workplace and inspires your staff to achieve even more.
2. Spread recognition around.
Show your appreciation to others even if they do not report to you. A simple statement, "That was a great job," or “Thanks for the help,” shows that you recognize what people do and makes them feel special. Smile at people in the hallways and elevators, and exchange greetings with those you know. Offer to help team members when you have time and see someone that could use a hand.
3. Avoid naysayers and negative coworkers as much as possible.
Despite the best intentions to stay positive, you are affected by negative people. They bring down the energy in the workplace and decrease morale. While you cannot completely avoid negative people, try to limit exposure. A good way to do this is by avoiding gossip and the “rumor mill.” Gossip and rumors are rarely positive and increase negativity in the workplace.
4. Use positive language.
Set an intention to use language that is more positive. Instead of saying what cannot be done, say what can be done. For example, do not say, “We cannot process your refund without the receipt.” Instead, say, “We need the receipt in order to process your refund.” Talk about what is possible.
Use every opportunity to create positive workplace experiences and become positively productive!
Karen Sladick is an expert in productivity and leadership training, having taught more than 6,000 people her secrets to achieving maximum results in minimum time. Her Birmingham-based company, Organize 4 Results, provides time management and leadership workshops to help attendees be more organized and productive.