You’ve heard it many times, but it’s worth emphasizing: Attitude can bring success faster or slow it down. Making the effort to cultivate a positive response to your work, colleagues, and career is a great way to encourage your leadership to see you as a potential leader. So, what can you do to say no to negativity? Remember this formula: Event + response = outcome. Don’t simply respond automatically and negatively to mistakes, people, and events…choose the response that brings out the best in you, the positive response.
Seek the silver lining. Instead of responding with negative thoughts or words to a potential disaster, look for the lesson learned, or the knowledge gained. Focusing on what you can learn from the issue will also help you prevent repetitions! Cultivating a habit of seeking the positive in every situation also helps you develop a consistently positive attitude.
There’s always a sunny side. Even at the end of a work day gone terribly awry, you still earned a paycheck. You may have also seen team members assist one another, watched leadership rise to the occasion, or salvaged the customer relationship. Dark days are also the perfect excuse for team or co-worker bonding over a cup of coffee or a stiff bourbon after work.
Treat others’ mistakes with compassion. When a team member or a subordinate makes an error out of ignorance, use it as a learning opportunity. One of the most powerful things a leader can do is to respond to a mistake or poor choice with “This is how we learn, we make a mistake and then we fix it. You won’t do this again, and you’ll know how to help your colleagues if they make the same mistake in the future.” Instead of chastising and applying consequences and making everyone fearful of taking risks and trying new solutions, you can encourage growth and raise morale by flipping the script from anger and disappointment to encouragement and positive reinforcement.
Let go of negative patterns. Those angry, resentful thoughts and words haven’t brought you success yet, and they may be preventing it. No one enjoys working with a complainer, and it’s difficult to mentor someone who has a negative attitude about the organization or their team. Recognize those tired, negative scripts that run in your head, and choose a positive response instead.
Ask for the positive. When posing questions or challenges at work, frame your questions to elicit positive answers first and last. Ask what they feel is going right, and that still tells you where the weak spots are while keeping the focus on the successes. When wrapping up a brainstorming session or analysis, go over what went well before discussing mistakes or failures. And when dissecting the failures, make sure to frame them as opportunities to learn, grow, and do better next time, instead of dropping them into the “negative zone” without a chance for redemption.