Embracing a Positive Attitude at Work

There is so much uncertainty in our lives as a recession looms, and we face the impacts of the highest inflation in over 40 years, and supply chain shortages. It is easy to get stuck in negativity.  

When we go through such times, it may feel impossible to see the “good” in our lives, especially at work. Most of us spend a great deal of time and effort worrying and stressing about things we don’t have any control over such as disasters, recessions, or as simple as how someone behaves or feels, and the list goes on. However, it is possible to have full control over how we react to events, and to choose to spend the time and effort on things we can control.

There have been several research studies conducted on the impact of positive thinking on success and happiness. For example, a study done at MetLife by Dr. Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania found that optimistic sales professionals outsell their pessimistic counterparts by 56%. As a result of this study, MetLife began to screen candidates for optimism, which improved retention and saved the company tens of millions of dollars. Another study published by European Economic Review found that optimistic entrepreneurs earn 30% more than pessimistic ones on average. Another survey uncovers that optimists are 40% more likely to get promoted and 6 times more likely to be highly engaged at work than pessimists.

Maintaining a positive attitude is not about ignoring the facts or hardships around us, but is a way of shifting the mindset to be able to see the good things even in difficult situations. Anyone can learn this skill and practice it to improve coping abilities, reduce stress and anxiety, enhance the immune system and be more successful in all areas of life.

At Stage 4 Solutions, we have adopted an attitude of positivity and we have seen great benefits.

Here are a few best practices we strive to do every day:

Develop a can-do attitude:

Every work day brings new issues and it is easy to get caught up in the difficulties. Instead of giving excuses or complaining, we say to ourselves “we can do this” and ask ourselves “how can we think differently?”; “how can we collaboratively come up with new approaches?” And, most of the time, this attitude helps us progress towards our strategic plans and succeed in meeting even the most difficult clients’ needs.

Start your day focusing on the good vs. the bad:

Even if things aren’t “perfect”, think about the good things that you have in your life and be grateful for them and begin your day with that feeling of appreciation. If you are overwhelmed with a project at work or having difficulties with a colleague, try to focus on the good parts of your job and begin your day thinking about those instead of the stressful aspects of work.

Focus on what you can control:

This is probably one of the most important components of positive thinking based on our experience. When things don’t go well or as expected, we take a moment to think about what aspects of the situation we have control over and what we can do differently that can lead to success. There are many things we cannot control so we try to let go of those things to focus on our productivity.

On an individual level, you can control how you react to what is happening around you.

Incident postmortem, lessons learned:

When we win or lose a project, we take a few minutes to analyze what went well, what didn’t and what we could have done differently to improve our work and processes to get better the next time. Losing a project to the competition is tough but this analysis gives us ideas to improve what we can control and the drive to succeed the next time. In case of a win, the analysis is more fun, and it provides us with the opportunity to celebrate.

Show appreciation to team members:

A study published on PubMed states that employees are at least 50% more successful when their managers show gratitude and appreciation at work which creates a domino effect within the company. It is a great practice to express gratitude and appreciation towards team members for their hard work and contributions, or for taking time out from their schedules to help out their colleagues. As you begin showing appreciation towards your team members, it will inspire them and others within the organization. All it takes is a simple thank-you. 1 on 1 outreach to express appreciation is one way to do this and public shout-outs are another effective way as they inspire and motivate the entire team.

Recognize even the smallest wins:

This is probably one of the easiest ways to promote positive thinking within the team and company. There are several small wins and accomplishments you can celebrate and acknowledge every day, for example, recognizing the completion of small tasks or milestones within a big project. This way, team members will feel more motivated.

Celebrate positive life events:

Especially during the past few years, work-life integration has been a major focus for the workforce. Taking a moment to celebrate team members’ positive life events and to share their happiness promotes positivity in the team environment.

Positive thinking at work can help with better decision-making, and establish a healthy work environment and culture. What are you doing to maintain positivity at work? Please share with us!

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