• Share
  • Email
  • Embed
  • Like
  • Save
  • Private Content
Overcoming Negativity in Workplace - Study Notes
 

Overcoming Negativity in Workplace - Study Notes

on

  • 172 views

Negativity is the result of unchecked pessimism. It's an abnormal pattern of thinking that persists over time and negates solutions and successful outcomes. Learning to deal with negativity will ...

Negativity is the result of unchecked pessimism. It's an abnormal pattern of thinking that persists over time and negates solutions and successful outcomes. Learning to deal with negativity will improve both your personal and business relationships.

Statistics

Views

Total Views
172
Views on SlideShare
172
Embed Views
0

Actions

Likes
0
Downloads
11
Comments
0

0 Embeds 0

No embeds

Accessibility

Categories

Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

Cancel
  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
    Processing…
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    Overcoming Negativity in Workplace - Study Notes Overcoming Negativity in Workplace - Study Notes Document Transcript

    • Overcoming Negativity in Workplace Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Table of Contents (Section 1) From Pessimism to Optimism ......................................................................................................................... 5 A. Forging a Person’s Point of View. ......................................................................................................................... 5 1. Challenging Pessimistic Beliefs.......................................................................................................................... 5 2. Challenging Negative Perceptions .................................................................................................................... 5 3. Checking Your Negative Interpretations ........................................................................................................... 6 B. Issues that Instigate Negative Thinking. ............................................................................................................... 7 4. Factors that Instigate Negative Thinking .......................................................................................................... 7 5. Forms of Negativity ........................................................................................................................................... 8 6. Spectrum of Attitudes ....................................................................................................................................... 9 C. Path to a Positive Point of View .......................................................................................................................... 10 7. 8. Formulating a Positive Point of View .............................................................................................................. 10 9. D. Baggage as a Contributor to Negativity .......................................................................................................... 10 Positive Thinking Using the I-CAN Model ....................................................................................................... 11 Catalysts of Negativity......................................................................................................................................... 12 10. 11. Conflicting Views Fuel Negativity ................................................................................................................ 13 12. E. Contagious Nature of Negativity ................................................................................................................. 12 Communication Behaviours Fuel Negativity ............................................................................................... 13 How to Avoid Being a Carrier of Negativity ........................................................................................................ 14 13. 14. F. Dealing with Negative Behaviours .............................................................................................................. 14 Using a P.L.A.N. for Positive Change ........................................................................................................... 16 Act Upon versus Reacting to Negativity.............................................................................................................. 17 15. 16. G. Using the A.C.T. Method to Deal with Negativity ....................................................................................... 17 Using the A.C.E. Method to Respond to Negativity .................................................................................... 18 The job aids: Path from Pessimism to Optimism ................................................................................................ 19 17. 18. Interpreting and Challenging Pessimistic Perceptions ................................................................................ 22 19. H. Using the I-CAN Model to Address Negative Situations ............................................................................. 19 Determining Origins of Pessimistic Beliefs .................................................................................................. 23 Vocabulary: Path from Pessimism to Optimism ................................................................................................. 24 (Section 2) Approaches to Turn Around Negativity. ....................................................................................................... 25 I. Proactive Approaches to Stop Negativity ........................................................................................................... 25 20. Offering Control to Negative Thinkers ........................................................................................................ 25 21. Strategies for Managing Your Behaviour .................................................................................................... 26 22. Maintaining a Sense of Humour ................................................................................................................. 27 2|P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes J. http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Confronting Negative Behaviour......................................................................................................................... 27 23. Dangers of Ignoring Negative Behaviour .................................................................................................... 27 24. Confronting on the Basis of Behaviour ....................................................................................................... 28 25. How to Confront Negative Behaviour ......................................................................................................... 28 K. Coaching Towards Optimism .............................................................................................................................. 30 26. Venting Negative Feelings ........................................................................................................................... 30 27. Coaching toward Optimism with the I-CAN Model..................................................................................... 30 28. Coaching toward Optimism Using the AAA List .......................................................................................... 31 L. Job Aids: Proactive Approaches to Stop Negativity ............................................................................................ 32 29. Acting Upon Versus Reacting To Negativity ................................................................................................ 32 30. How Negativity Travels and How to Stop it ................................................................................................ 33 31. Recognizing and Acting Upon Negative Thinking ....................................................................................... 35 M. Vocabulary: Proactive Approaches to Stop Negativity ................................................................................... 38 (Section 3) Overcoming Organizational Negativity ......................................................................................................... 40 N. Job Aids: Overcoming Organizational Negativity ................................................................................................ 40 32. 33. Producing Positive Norms and Overcoming Negativity .............................................................................. 41 34. Understanding the Impact of Norms .......................................................................................................... 44 35. Communicating With a Negative Thinker: Pitfalls ...................................................................................... 46 36. O. Understanding Issues that Cause Negative Thinking .................................................................................. 40 Assessing the Organization ......................................................................................................................... 47 Vocabulary: Overcoming Organizational Negativity ........................................................................................... 50 3|P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Note: this paper can be used as a base for knowledge acquisition from entry level upwards. 4|P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge (Section 1) From Pessimism to Optimism A. Forging a Person’s Point of View. 1. Challenging Pessimistic Beliefs At work, you discover a problem with the project you are putting together. What's the first thing that pops into your mind? Murphy's Law. If something can go wrong, it will go wrong. These both represent pessimistic beliefs. Negative beliefs are formed over a period of time by our experiences in life, from childhood through adulthood. There are three ways we develop negative beliefs:    We learn them as children while growing up. We adapt them from other people in adulthood. We make statements like Murphy's Law. Whether they come from within you or from others, pessimistic beliefs must be checked and challenged to avoid negative thinking. You must periodically examine your beliefs and decide if they are still true. Ask yourself the following questions:    What shaped this belief? Are these beliefs currently valid for me? In terms of life and work, will these beliefs add or detract? You can overcome your pessimistic beliefs by looking for positive evidence that will contradict them. By collecting positive evidence, you can change your point of view and motivate yourself to take positive action. 2. Challenging Negative Perceptions Perception is more powerful than reality. What you perceive has a greater impact on your thinking than what is actually true. Negative perceptions fuel negative thinking. When you form a negative perception, you start thinking, What's wrong with me? or What's wrong with them? You can recognize negative perceptions by the way they make you feel. Negative perceptions cause:    a feeling of conflict within yourself a loss of self-confidence a trend of upsetting feelings or thoughts. The first step towards shaping a positive point of view is to check and challenge pessimistic perceptions. Here are some strategies to use:    Refrain from labelling—Refrain from labelling a person as snob, creep, stuck up, and so on. When you attach a label to a person in a negative situation, you respond to the label and not to the person. This negative labelling perpetuates your pessimistic perception of the person in the future. Try to view the situation in another way—Ask yourself, What is another way to view this situation? You have to rethink the circumstance in a more positive and constructive manner. Ask for clarification—If you felt snubbed by somebody, if you ask for clarification you may find out that the other person was just preoccupied and didn't notice you. When you have negative feelings, always check the validity of the perception. Checking your negative perceptions helps you to develop a more positive point of view. What you perceive to be fire may actually be a pot of gold. 5|P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes 3. http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Checking Your Negative Interpretations Negativity can be costly and counterproductive. To overcome negative thinking, you need to understand the factors that forge your point of view. Among the factors that affect your point of view are negative events. A negative event is any occurrence that has a negative impact on you, such as a loss, an awkward moment, or a disappointment. Interpretation of negative events answers such questions as, "Why did this happen?" and "Why did this happen to me?" Interpretation is the way we gain understanding of a situation. There are three major elements of interpretation—duration, scope, and cause. How we interpret a situation depends primarily on our predominant pattern of thinking, which is either pessimistic or optimistic. For example, when experiencing a work-related loss, such as the loss of a promotion or the loss of a major client, the pessimistic thinker interprets it as lasting forever and being far-reaching, and he or she always assigns blame. More information is provided below.    Duration. Pessimistic people often consider negative events to be endless, on-going, and long term—perhaps even lasting forever. Scope. Scope means the number of other things you think the situation will affect. The response of the pessimistic thinker is "everything!" Pessimistic thinkers interpret an event as being far-reaching and having extensive ramifications for virtually every area of their life and work. Cause. Pessimistic thinkers blame negative situations on themselves or others. This results in damaged relationships and a continued sense of failure and frustration. To overcome negative interpretations, you must check and challenge them. There is an optimistic reaction to each of the three elements of interpretation, as explained below.    Duration. Optimists see negative events as temporary and transitory—something that will pass with time. They always see a light at the end of the tunnel. Scope. Optimists make a point of isolating and limiting the scope of negative situations. They consider each negative occurrence as a singular event that will not impact the rest of their lives. Cause. Optimists look for practical explanations for situations and events. This helps them learn how to improve for the next time, and it establishes a pattern for future success. A negative or pessimistic point of view develops over time through beliefs, perceptions, and interpretations that are negative. You can develop a positive or optimistic point of view by checking and challenging your beliefs, perceptions, and interpretations. This difference can affect, profoundly, your daily life and work experiences. Consider the following effects of pessimism and optimism.   Effects of pessimism. Pessimism produces a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. It's common for the negative thinker to feel, "It won't work, what's the point, it's no use." Effects of optimism. The heart of positive thinking is a sense of hopefulness. Hopefulness is the result of positive beliefs, perceptions, and interpretations. These factors allow optimists to deal with negative situations more effectively. Be aware of your internal language, and especially be aware of extreme pessimistic thinking. If you find you've been talking in extremes and placing blame, stop and rethink the situation. This will change your patterns of thinking from pessimistic to optimistic. You can't always choose what happens, but you can choose what to believe and perceive and how to interpret events. You can choose to step down to pessimism or choose to step up to optimism. It's not easy to change the habits of a lifetime, but it can be done. Begin your climb towards optimism now. 6|P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge B. Issues that Instigate Negative Thinking. 4. Factors that Instigate Negative Thinking When faced with a difficult situation, we often tend to feel negative. There are three factors that can instigate this negative thinking. By understanding these factors, you can begin to understand why you experience negative thinking, so you can eventually turn it into positive thinking. The three factors that can cause negative thinking are described below. 1. Lack of control At the core of negative thinking is the feeling of lack of control. All of us would like to believe that we have some control over our lives and work. To overcome this potential source of negativity, you can take the following two steps.   Determine your area of control or things within your control. It's important to determine what you can control, so you can overcome the feeling of lack of control. However, sometimes you just have to accept the things you can't change. In your area of control, consider your options and choose to act on one. Options are the keys to gaining control. When you have options, you have choices, and when you have choices, you have control. If there are no options, make one up. For example, if your flight is delayed, then you can do other things, like catch up on your reading, eat something, take a nap, do a crossword puzzle, or chat with the person next to you. 2. Lack of community The second factor that instigates negative thinking is lack of community. As social creatures, we seek to belong to certain groups that connect us with others. The factor of lack of community is born in isolation. At the core of negative thinking is the fear or feeling of being excluded or isolated from the group. The fear of exclusion is usually an artificial barrier that needs to be conquered. To overcome the lack of community factor, do things that will heighten your sense of inclusion. Consider using the following three strategies.    Develop interpersonal skills. By sharpening your interpersonal skills, you can communicate better and improve your relationships with others. Form mutually supportive and encouraging relationships. Get to know your co-workers and team members. You might want to ask someone you respect to be your mentor. Outside the workplace, you might want to join a professional association or community group. Make sure that you are not associating with negative people. Take part in group interaction programs. Join a task force or problem-solving group, or plan the office party. Outside the workplace, participate in sporting events, social activities, or volunteer. 3. Lack of confidence A sense of community prevents the fear of exclusion and the negativity it creates. Overcoming lack of community is also the first step towards tackling the third issue that instigates negativity—lack of confidence, which often is the result of low self-esteem. Negative thinkers often feel a sense of worthlessness. This feeling can be overcome only by building a sense of confidence. The word confidence is derived from Latin. The prefix con means with, and the root word fi means faith, so confidence can be interpreted as, "Going to work with faith." Having understood the literal meaning of the word confidence, it's important to consider measures to build up your confidence. The measures listed below can help you overcome a lack of confidence.    Reaffirm your values. Write down or mentally recite your personal qualities and the contributions you have made both at work and at home. Keep a journal of tasks you successfully completed. Using a journal, you can list your achievements, the deadlines you met successfully, and accomplishments that may not be work-related. Put yourself in challenging situations. "Success breeds success" is a well-known saying. Success also breeds confidence. Challenge yourself, and put yourself in situations where you can do something well and build your confidence. 7|P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes   http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Expand your skills and attributes. Use resources for personal and professional development to expand your inventory of skills and attributes. Be specific about the skill sets you need to improve, and then act on acquiring them. Avoid generic statements such as, "I want to build my skill sets." Eliminate perfectionist thinking. Perfection is not attainable. Nobody is perfect. You lose confidence when you drive yourself to attain the unachievable. Learn to tell yourself it is good and it is enough. When we recognize the attainment of a good result, we should try to move on to the next good thing. To overcome the issues of lack of control, community, and confidence, take the initiative. Explore your options and choose the positive one. Initiate positive interaction with others and build a sense of involvement and belonging. Work to build your confidence. By using the strategies described above, you can overcome the factors that cause negative thinking. 5. Forms of Negativity There are two forms of negatively that can affect people. Negativity is either situational or habitual. Let's first consider the definition of situational negativity. When we react negatively to a negative situation, such as a loss or an unexpected change, we experience situational negativity. An initial reaction to a negative event is based realistically on a valid concern. But we can control how we respond. The following strategies can help you overcome situational negativity.    Confront. To confront the situation means that you don't ignore it. You don't neglect the situation, hoping that it will somehow disappear. You step up to it. Cope. Coping is dealing with a negative situation. Use all the resources that are available, such as the people you know, including friends, colleagues, your supervisor, a manager, or a counsellor. Continue. As you are coping with a negative situation, persist. Persist until you have moved on to a more positive place. If you don't continue past a negative situation, then situational negativity can deteriorate into habitual negativity, in which you have a negative reaction to most situations. Negativity is like a virus. If it's not stopped with a dose of optimism, it can infect your view of all situations—good or bad. Habitual negativity refers to a repeated pattern of negative behaviour. People who exhibit habitual negativity often interpret even good news as bad and usually have a negative impact on everyone else. To better understand habitual negativity, it's important to know the behaviour patterns that are typical of people who are habitually negative. People who are habitually negative usually have the following three characteristics.    Excessive worrying. A person who worries excessively tends to make a mountain out of a molehill and forecasts disaster without valid reasons when he or she hears any kind of news. Chronic complaining. A chronic complainer typically sees something bad, even in a good situation. Complaining is a chronic habit with such people, and they usually complain about the most trivial things. Self-defeating. This is characteristic of the person who thinks of himself or herself as useless. These people often sabotage themselves because they constantly think, "I CAN'T." They have a feeling of hopelessness and generally feel incompetent. Identifying situational and habitual negative behaviours sharpens our awareness. If we identify the tendency of the negative thinker to behave in these ways, then we benefit because we do not then take them personally. We can deal with such people with detachment and objectivity. Awareness of these two forms of negativity helps you to avoid forming a habit of negativity yourself. It's important to get rid of these habits. 8|P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes 6. http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Spectrum of Attitudes Optimism and pessimism occur in varying degrees across the spectrum of attitudes, from unbridled optimism to persistent pessimism. It's important to understand the individual characteristics of each attitude within the spectrum of attitudes. Details about five attitudes within the spectrum are provided below.      Unbridled optimism. A person who demonstrates unbridled optimism never sees a problem with anything. This person's head is always in the clouds, and the feet never touch the ground. The unbridled optimist incites change because it is exciting, believes everything is possible, and usually is far-sighted. This person's theme song might be, "Don't worry, be happy." Realistic optimism. A person who demonstrates realistic optimism searches for solutions and is receptive to change, provided it is useful and helpful. This person is always ready and willing to "give it a go." The realistic optimist tends to look up into the clouds, but the feet are always planted on the ground. Pragmatism. When you hear the word pragmatic, you think of words like practical and realistic. That is the view of the pragmatist. This person focuses on the facts, is results-oriented, addresses valid concerns with a view to improvement, generates ideas, and weighs the respective merits of those ideas. The pragmatist remains firmly focused on the present and the future and doesn't dwell in the past. Useful scepticism. A person who demonstrates useful scepticism considers change but is cautious about it. This person is able to analyse facts and often says things like, "Show me," and "Prove it." The useful sceptic is able to spot problems, but unlike the pessimist, does not become preoccupied by them. Persistent pessimism. This person views everything as a problem. The persistent pessimist is preoccupied with pitfalls and problems and resists change. In fact, this person will dig in his heels to resist change. A person who demonstrates persistent pessimism constantly fears the unknown, has an "it won't work" attitude, is near-sighted rather than farsighted, and is close to the state of habitual negativity. It's best to avoid extreme attitudes wherever possible. Preferred attitudes range from realistic optimism to useful scepticism. There is a general rule of thumb used to determine which attitude is preferred in a given situation. The following attitudes are preferred in specific situations.   Realistic optimism. This view is preferred when you are in a situation that requires resilience and a high degree of hopefulness. You need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Useful scepticism. Scepticism is useful when the risk is high and when you are involved with something that will take a lot of time and money. The sceptical view suggests that if you err, it is better to err on the side of caution. Often, specific professions benefit from having a particular point of view or attitude. Consider the following examples of positive relationships between attitudes and success at work.    Building contractor. In this profession, you need to be versatile. When interacting with the public, you need the relational view of optimism. While overseeing building plans, you need useful scepticism. Salesman. If you interact with people as the primary focus of your job, as in a sales position, you need a sense of hopefulness and resilience. You may face criticism and complaints. A useful view in this position is realistic optimism. Engineer. A technical job requires skills in the areas of processing, procedure, accuracy, and attention to detail. Engineers usually must comply with specifications and regulations. In such jobs, the preferred attitude is useful scepticism. As you can see from the above examples, it's important to match the attitude of the person to the requirements of the position. When assembling a team, avoid the two extremes, but include members with varying attitudes to provide essential checks and balances. The real key is to aim for balance between useful scepticism and realistic optimism. Maintaining the right balance is one sure way to overcome negativity. 9|P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes C. Path to a Positive Point of View 7. http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Baggage as a Contributor to Negativity Think about a situation you may or may not have handled well. Then answer the following questions. You might even want to write your answers down on a piece of paper.       What did you think during and after the situation? What did you feel during and after the situation? How did you act during the situation? Do you have any regrets about the situation? What assumptions resulted from it? What do you hope resulted from the situation? All of these questions focus on thoughts, feelings, actions, and regrets. If you were able to answer these questions at all, you're probably still carrying the situation and its results around with you. This is unnecessary baggage. Baggage causes stress, can increase negativity, and often leads to wrongful assumptions about other people and future situations. Think about your answers. Which piece of baggage has the most impact on you? The one that really pushes your buttons? Often this is the question that was easiest to answer and hardest to complete. If you described what you were thinking about during and after the situation, and you started getting angry all over again, the piece of baggage labelled "thoughts" carries the most charge. Ask yourself the following questions.    Do you believe you can control this? If yes, how could you do this? Be specific. If no, what piece of baggage do you think you can control? By answering these questions, you can identify your point of control—the point where you choose how to respond to a situation or a person. Most people believe they can best control what they think before, during, and after a situation. This is the key to emotional control. Reactions happen so fast that it is difficult to determine which comes first. But perception of an event triggers thought, and thought triggers emotion, which leads to motion. Many people have a physical response when a "button" is pushed. If you learn to recognize these responses, it can help you remain in control. Be aware of body signals like:    physical tension tingles blushing or flushing. Identifying your baggage and point of control is a crucial step as you strive to move from negativity to optimism. 8. Formulating a Positive Point of View To formulate a positive point of view, you must replace your ingrained negative patterns of thinking. It's possible to replace these ingrained patterns of thinking because the personal point of view is primarily learned. This principle of human behaviour is explained more fully in the following two points. 10 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes   http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Our personal point of view develops as we grow up. You may have learned personal values, work ethics, or parenting while growing up. For example, as a parent, when you say anything to your children, you may feel that you sound like your own father or mother. This is because we learned parenting from our own parents. As adults we tend to act according to what we have learned. We learned our predominant point of view, positive or negative, and tend to live this out. This view manifests itself in our behaviour when we manage a negative situation. To better understand how we tend to live according to our predominant point of view, consider the following example. If a person has learned a predominantly negative pattern of thinking while growing up, then it's possible the person will have the following thoughts in the workplace.     I believe it's a jungle out there. I believe it's a dog-eat-dog world out there. I am stupid and incompetent. No one ever gives me a break. They are always out to get me! The real danger of negativity is that it feeds on itself. There is both good news and bad news associated with the fact that our predominant pattern of thinking manifests itself in our behaviour.   The bad news is that many of us learned the pessimistic pattern of thinking. The good news is that we can unlearn this pattern and learn a positive point of view. To unlearn a pessimistic point of view successfully and develop a positive one, always keep this idea in your thoughts: "I choose how to view a situation." This idea is the basis for developing a positive point of view. When you say, "I choose how to view a situation," you can choose to view things optimistically, and you gain control. This can help you avoid your pessimistic pattern of thinking in negative situations. Choosing a positive response starts by being aware of how a situation affects you. You can recognize if you are reacting negatively by being aware of the signals, or indicators, from your body and mind. An indicator you can anticipate is your increasing stress level. Your thoughts become confused and worried, and you develop a short fuse. You find it difficult to smile. Remember, by choosing to view things optimistically, over a period of time you can internalize and lock in what you have learned and begin to formulate a more positive point of view. 9. Positive Thinking Using the I-CAN Model Some of you may remember when Heather Whitestone was crowned Miss America of 1995. It was a memorable occasion because she was the first deaf woman to be awarded the title. When she was asked about her handicap, she said that the most handicapped person in the world was the negative thinker. She went on to explain that her mother had raised her to believe "I Can." When you find yourself thinking negatively, it's important to keep telling yourself "I Can." "I Can" is a conviction that is at the heart of positive thinking. It also is a fitting label for a remarkable model, since I-CAN is an acronym that makes it easier for you to remember the four steps of positive thinking. Details about the I-CAN model are provided below. 1. I—Identify the situation. As a first step, when facing a negative situation like a loss, a sudden change, or disappointment, identify the situation and analyse it objectively. Avoid describing it subjectively in emotional and sentimental terms. Don't think, "This is the worst thing that happened to me." Instead, identify the situation objectively in terms of facts. 2. C—Construct your response. The next step is to build or construct an optimistic response to a situation. The following four points explain how to do this. 11 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes     http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Construct duration, scope, and cause. Duration, scope, and cause are three elements that are key to interpreting a situation. An optimistic thinker views the duration of a situation as passing and the scope as limited and researches practical reasons to analyse the cause. Put rational thoughts before emotions. You may find that when you experience a negative situation, it triggers negative emotions that trigger negative thoughts. This blocks your ability to assess the situation accurately and approach it in a logical and rational manner. Formulate positive thoughts. In this step, you formulate positive thoughts that generate positive emotions. Positive thoughts and emotions together generate positive actions. This leads to effective and positive results. Have a sense of hopefulness. When you construct an optimistic response to a negative situation, aim for a sense of hopefulness. Hopefulness helps to combat the effects of negativity, which is a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. 3. A—Assess your options. In this step, you assess your options and act on them to move forward towards a positive solution. By acting on your options, you strengthen your sense of control and create momentum that enables you to move forward towards a solution.   Put in your mind the simple word options. When you have options, you have choices, and when you have choices, you have control. Write down each of your options on a separate sheet of paper. Then weigh the pros and cons of each. You will usually find that one emerges as your preferred option. Take action on the option you choose. Take action on at least one of your options. As a result of feeling helpless and hopeless, negative thinkers can become indifferent and lethargic. They throw in the towel and quit. This will only make the situation worse. 4. N—Name the resources. Finally, name your resources in terms of the people and programs that can help you manage the negative situation.   Identify the people. These include people who can be encouraging and supportive of you, both professionally and personally. They are people who can offer you insights, creative ideas, and useful suggestions and can give you guidance or counsel you correctly. Identify support programs. Think of the programs that are available to you, both in and outside of the workplace. It can be discouraging to deal with a negative situation if you feel the pressure of coping with it. Making use of proper resources will give you a sense of encouragement. One of the chief advantages of the I-CAN model is that it trains you to listen to the more positive voice within you. The I-CAN model provides a logical structure to help you develop an objective view that can keep you calm in a negative situation. It prompts you to think of options, and, when you consider these approaches, you may find a solution to the situation. D. Catalysts of Negativity 10. Contagious Nature of Negativity Negativity is contagious and, in some places, it has reached epidemic proportions. If you get infected with negativity, you're likely to pass it on to someone else. Therefore, a cure for the contagious nature of negativity is essential. The contagious nature of negativity can be analysed in greater detail by studying the symptoms that occur when a person gets infected by contagious moods. To identify the symptoms, remember the following points.    Identify the source of negativity. The source of negativity can be just about anything, from being disorganized to missing out on a promotion to being late for work. A person who is late, for example, can be in a bad mood, and spread his negativity to others. How does a person become infected by negativity? The carrier of negativity—again, let's say it is the person who is late for work—will probably be in a bad mood when he arrives at work, and snubs a co-worker as he rushes to his desk. What do people do when they become infected? The co-worker who was snubbed by the late arriver can take the negative behaviour personally and become infected. In turn, she can spread the negativity on to others in much the 12 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes  http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge same way. When people are infected by the negative behaviour of other people, they brood, become unproductive, and pass on the negativity to someone else. Is there a cure for this contagious nature of negativity? The cure is to guard against the possible spread of this infection. Develop effective vaccines to counter this contagious infection. To begin with, avoid being a carrier of negativity yourself. To arrest the spread of negativity, remember the following strategies. Use them when you are in danger of being infected by negative moods.    Refrain from being a carrier of negativity yourself. Don't make your bad mood someone else's. Do not buy into the negativity of others. Preserve your own optimism, and work to infect others with your optimism. The cure for the contagious nature of negativity is to develop a vaccine to counteract its effect on your outlook. Don't let others infect you with their negativity. Instead, infect others with your optimism. 11. Conflicting Views Fuel Negativity When you're in a discussion with someone whose point of view is different from your own, conflicting views can naturally arise. When that happens, negativity can emerge and spread from person to person. There may be many correct viewpoints on one issue. To appreciate this, keep in mind the famous Zen story of the blind men touching the elephant. One felt the leg of the elephant and described it as a "large, leathery, tree-like object." Another said, "Oh no, it's long, narrow, and quite snake-like." But he was touching the trunk! Another, touching the ear, said, "It is thin and round and flaps in the air." Of course, all of these views were right. The same thing can happen when different individuals view the same issue in different ways. If conflicting views threaten to stir up negativity and sour your working relationships, you can take the following steps to stop the negativity before it gets out of hand.     Accept the views of other people. Accept the fact that other people have views different than your own. Don't expect that others are always going to agree with you. Stay focused on the subject at hand. Don't allow the discussion to get personal. Don't take pot shots at people or try to "score points" over other people. That will only fuel negativity. Learn conflict resolution skills. Identify the positions and interests of the two persons in conflict. Then find options for solving the problem in a way that satisfies the interests of each person, at least in part. Manage your behaviour. Ask yourself this question: "When this conversation is over, whose behaviour do I want to remember as being most professional and most positive?" From your point of view, it always should be yours. Manage your behaviour when in conflict. Remember, to limit conflict, you need to broaden your views to include the perspectives of other people. There are many ways to view one situation. By themselves, each view is limiting. Together, they can create a complete picture. 12. Communication Behaviours Fuel Negativity Among the three catalysts of negativity, communication behaviours is the most important. To better understand this catalyst, you first should be aware of the channels of communication through which this catalyst works. The three channels of communication that exist are:    verbal—the words you say vocal—the tone of your voice visual—your body language. 13 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Research into interpersonal communication skills has shown that the impact of the various channels of communication varies considerably. Verbal communication—that is, the actual words spoken—has the least impact. The greatest impact on people by far comes from non-verbal channels. Non-verbal channels are the tone of the voice and the visual signals we use. Therefore, it's not so much what you say, but how you say it and how you look when you say it, that's important. However, negativity can be transferred through all three channels of communication. Once you can identify the types of communication behaviour that trigger a negative reaction, such as the wave of a hand or the tone of voice, you are ahead of the game. You can choose to view that behaviour as a lack of maturity in the other person or as a lack of communication skills, or you can choose to view it with humour. You gain detachment and objectivity by doing so. To be able to view negative communication in an objective manner, you must be aware of your emotional triggers. For example, behaviours such as grinning sarcastically, banging a fist on a table, and using an accusing tone of voice are emotional triggers for some people. These behaviours may or may not trigger a negative reaction in you. By being aware of the triggers that affect you, you can stay objective. The more objective you are, the more you remain calm and composed. Once you have identified the three channels of communication and those behaviours that pull your emotional trigger, you can stop negativity from traveling from others to you. The following steps explain how to stop negativity from traveling.     Manage your stress. Stressed-out people tend to take offense more quickly and react more easily. They tend to have a short fuse that sets them off at the least provocation. One of the hazards of negativity is that it can increase our level of stress. Moderate your communication behaviour. To avoid setting off negativity in others, recognize how your behaviour affects them. Be attentive to the non-verbal feedback you get from people in terms of the words you say, your tone of voice, and the actions you use, so you don't offend others. Do not react to the negativity of others. You cannot control the behaviour of other people. For example, if someone dismisses you with a wave of the hand, you can choose not to attach any meaning to this action and view it objectively and thus, avoid reacting to it. Do act upon the situation. Rather than react to the negativity of others, act upon the situation instead. Deal with the negative behaviours of other people calmly and affirmatively. You will be able to solve the problem of negativity more easily knowing that negativity travels from one person to the other through the catalysts of communication behaviours, as well as contagious moods and conflicting views. Remember, you can choose to get caught up in negativity or choose the positive option. Don't allow negativity to travel from you, to you, or through you. E. How to Avoid Being a Carrier of Negativity 13. Dealing with Negative Behaviours To avoid being a carrier of negativity, you need to recognize a negative thinker promptly. Negative thinkers typically communicate in three modes:    defensiveness resentment or hostility chronic complaining Defensiveness, hostility, and complaining are reactionary behaviours to a perceived problem or threat. Therefore, the correct approach to deal with such behaviour is to help reduce the perceived problem or threat. 14 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge It's important to understand the correct approach to take when dealing with the behaviour of negative thinkers. Details on how to deal with all three communication modes are provided below. 1. Dealing with defensiveness Defensiveness is a reaction to offensiveness. It is a mechanism a person uses to protect oneself from perceived dangers and the fear of revealing one's own shortcomings. To overcome the defensive attitude of a negative thinker, you can use the following strategies.       Refrain from verbally attacking the person. Refrain from criticism. Converse and don't accuse. Confront specific behaviours and not attitudes. Help the person make constructive responses. Avoid being a perfectionist. Avoid self-criticism. 2. Dealing with resentment or hostility Resentment and hostility are reactions normally expressed by people who feel they have to fight to win. They have to fight to get control and fight to preserve the perception that they are blameless. Often, the negative thinker blames you. Hostility is an aggressive style of communication. The following steps will help you overcome a hostile attitude.       Keep your cool, and don't blame the hostile person. Pinpoint the visual and vocal hostile behaviours. Communicate as much as possible to ease hostility. Ask the person to tell you the reason for his or her hostility. Explain to the person the consequences of the person's behaviour. Make the person aware of how his or her behaviour is perceived. 3. Dealing with chronic complaining Chronic complainers interpret all negative events as "forever," "far-reaching," or their own or someone else's fault. They express a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. You can't avoid people who complain, but you can choose to interact with them effectively. The following strategies can help you interact with such people.       Openly acknowledge that they appear distressed. Express concern for them. Make them aware of how they are perceived. Acknowledge some of their concerns or fears. Advise them to drop unrealistic expectations. Help them achieve a greater sense of control. Your negative reaction to the customary expressions of negative thinkers can lead to serious consequences, including the following three consequences.    Negativity escalates all around. Relationships deteriorate and break down. You may be perceived as being negative yourself. Remember, don't react to the three modes of negative behaviour—defensiveness, hostility, and chronic complaining. Instead, adopt the right strategies to deal with each of these behaviours. If you react negatively to the negativity of others, you may be perceived to be part of the problem, rather than part of the solution. 15 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge 14. Using a P.L.A.N. for Positive Change Sometimes people unknowingly exhibit negative behaviour and are unaware of the fact that other people perceive them as being negative. If you are perceived as being negative, it's important for you to take steps to change your behaviour. One technique you can use to make positive changes is the PLAN method. We rarely see ourselves as others see us, which sets up a two-fold challenge. The first part of the challenge involves determining how others perceive us, and the second part involves accepting the fact that we may be perceived as being negative. These two parts are explained in more detail below.   Awareness that we may be perceived as being negative. There are some indicators that can let you know others perceive you as being negative. People may tend to avoid you, or they may shut down during a conversation for some reason. If they react to you in a defensive or a hostile manner, that may be an indication of how they perceive you. Accept the fact that we may be perceived as being negative. If someone tells you that you are being negative, take it as constructive criticism. We find it hard to face up to the fact that we are being negative. But we must accept it if we are to PLAN for positive change. If you determine that you're perceived by others as being negative, you can take a number of steps to improve your image. By following the three steps listed below, you can make a positive change and improve the way you're perceived by others. 1. Identify negative behaviour. First, identify negative behaviour. To identify how other people perceive your behaviour, you can take the following steps.    Identify people you can trust for feedback. Ask, "Do I come across as negative?" Ask, "What gives you the impression I am negative?" 2. Identify negative situations. Certain situations can trigger negative reactions in you. For example, certain situations at home, at work, with your children or partner, with your boss or co-workers, or with your friends may trigger negative reactions in you. Identifying these situations helps in your PLAN for positive change. 3. PLAN for positive change. After having identified the behaviours and situations that make other people perceive you as negative, it's time to PLAN for positive change. PLAN is an acronym for the steps you can follow to develop a positive image. The PLAN model for positive change consists of four steps.     P—Pick one behaviour. L—Learn optimism. A—Alert...stay alert to feedback. N—Nice...be nice to yourself. The first step, P, stands for "Pick one." This means picking one situation and one behaviour on which to focus for positive changes. This first steps involves two parts.   Pick one situation. Pick a situation in which you are most likely to succeed. Usually it is a low-risk situation. A low-risk situation is one in which you won't lose much and are not likely to face embarrassment even if you fail. Pick one behaviour. Usually it is a behaviour you can change easily or get training on quickly. Pick one among your expressions of negative behaviour. For example, if you often say, "I don't think that will work," you can choose to replace that by saying, "I have some concerns about that." The next step in the PLAN model is L, which stands for "Learn optimism." To do this, follow the I-CAN model, which includes the following components.   I—Identify the situation in terms of facts. C—Construct a positive response. 16 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes   http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge A—Assess your options. N—Name the resources that you can count on always. The third step of the PLAN model is A, which stands for being "Alert to feedback" from others. Be alert to the feedback you receive from others, both verbal and non-verbal. If you sense someone is pulling back, ask the person for clarification about whether your behaviour was offensive in any way. This will help you modify or change the way you are perceived. N is the last step of the PLAN model. N stands for being "Nice to yourself." Don't be overly critical of yourself. Reward yourself for your achievements. Make time in your schedule to pursue a hobby or something you enjoy. You can also engage in some leisurely activity. This will help you reduce your stress and help you manage negative people who behave defensively, behave with hostility, or complain chronically. If you are perceived as negative, the PLAN for positive change is an extremely important tool you can use to change your image for the better. The PLAN for positive change helps you change how you are perceived by others. Being perceived positively can take you to great heights. Make use of the PLAN model to scale those heights. You'll get there if you have a PLAN. F. Act Upon versus Reacting to Negativity 15. Using the A.C.T. Method to Deal with Negativity If you determine that you are being negative or that you are perceived by others as being negative, you can change your behaviour and your image by constantly choosing to do those things that will prompt a positive response in you. That is the basic theory behind the ACT method, which you can use to make a positive change. By using the ACT method, you can deal with personal negativity by taking measures to limit the adverse effects of negativity on you. ACT is an acronym that identifies the three steps you can follow to deal with negativity. These three steps—affirm, create, and time-out—are explained below. 1. A stands for "Affirm." First, you need to affirm yourself and stop negative self-talk. To quote Mark Twain, "Often the storm of thoughts blowing through our minds stirs up negative emotions." This must be checked. When you are aware that you're indulging in negative self-talk, replace it with positive, affirmative self-talk. It's like listening to a radio station that's being negative—you immediately switch channels and tune in a more positive one. Affirming yourself is like putting on a suit of armour. It helps to shield you against the negativity of others, and to reinforce your positive point of view. 2. C stands for "Create." The next step is to create measures you can use to maintain your optimism and insulate yourself against negative thinkers. Just as you should nourish your body with good food, you should nourish your mind with good thoughts. You can use the following options to maintain a positive point of view.    Keep a joy journal. Keep a "joy journal" or a "laughter log," and refer to it frequently. This journal should contain entries of things that made you happy. Maintaining and referring to your joy journal can help you orient your thinking to the good things around you, and on bad days reading the journal can give you a sense of hope. Become a collector. Collect anything and everything that conveys positive or humorous images, such as comic strips, funny pictures, amusing posters, inspirational quotations, or props you like. These can help lift your spirits, and your bad days may not look so gloomy. Surround yourself with positive people. Positive people not only reinforce your own positive point of view, but also offer you support, encouragement, and cheer when you need it most. Stick to a flock that sings, rather than to a flock that quarrels if you want to get ahead. 17 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes  http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Practice flip-side thinking. Just as every coin has two sides, so has every situation. Always look for the bright side. 3. T stands for "Time-out." If you're tempted to react to a negative situation, take a time-out. Find an excuse and remove yourself from the situation. As you take a time-out, review the situation, look at your joy journal, shake out the tension, do some breath relaxation, and so forth. Basically, take a break from the situation. In summary, remember to always ACT upon a negative situation rather than react to it. By following the three steps in the ACT model, you can effectively work to change your behaviour in a positive way. 16. Using the A.C.E. Method to Respond to Negativity To be an ACE in responding to the negativity of others, you first need to understand what the term stands for. ACE is an acronym that represents Accountability, Communication, and Development. You can use these three steps to conquer the negativity of others, as explained below. 1. A for "Accountability" We have to make people accountable because behaviour is contagious. Negativity can travel from person to person and eventually affect the whole workgroup. There are a number of strategies that can help you hold people accountable for their behaviour. For example, you can:    establish ground rules with people state the expectations and boundaries confront negative behaviour. 2. C for "Communication" To communicate is to have an exchange of ideas or to connect with one another. In the workplace, both aspects of communication are essential. Always keep your communication channels open. The famous author Stephen Hawking once said, "Communication is the most important skill in life, because all relationships rely on skilled communication." 3. E for "Empowerment" Empowerment provides people with a greater range of options, choices, and control—factors that offset negativity. There are numerous ways you can empower people. Some of them are listed below.    Delegate responsibility. Delegate responsibility for tasks by giving people the option to decide how to do their own tasks and accomplish their goals and objectives. This gives them a sense of control, since they are now free to decide on their options. Encourage people to join activities. Encourage people to join activities like brainstorming discussions, creative-thinking sessions, or problem-solving groups, or to serve on a task force or self-managed team. Heighten their sense of involvement and make them feel a part of the group or community, thus empowering them. Provide them with information. Share information with others that will enable them to do their jobs better, or provide training that will strengthen their skills. Basically, the idea is to give people a sense of importance that will make them feel empowered with the information they have and give them a sense of confidence. Empowerment enhances a person's sense of control, because empowerment enables choices. It increases the sense of community through greater involvement, and improves confidence. Empower yourself even if you are not the boss, and manage your own performance. The following steps will help you to empower yourself.  Train to strengthen your skills. 18 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes   http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Gather information to be more effective. Study a problem and suggest solutions. In summary, remember to always be an ACE and conquer the negativity of others, rather than react to them. G. The job aids: Path from Pessimism to Optimism 17. Using the I-CAN Model to Address Negative Situations Use this SkillGuide to assist in effectively handling a negative situation using the I-CAN Model. Review the elements of the model and use the worksheet to analyse and address your specific situation. When you have a negative situation, use the I-Can Model (which is described below) to help you form positive thoughts. Positive thoughts generate positive emotions and lead you to take positive actions. 19 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge This element … Has this meaning … I (Identify) Identify the negative situation, such as a loss, difficulty, or disappointment. State the facts! Avoid an emotional description, such as saying it’s the worse thing that ever happened. C (Construct) Create an optimistic response to the situation: Duration Passing situation. Scope Cause Practical reasons (don’t attribute blame). Effect A (Assess) One occurrence of the situation. (The situation doesn’t occur all the time with everyone.) Hopefulness. What are your positive hopes? Assess your options and act. When you have options, you have choices. Choices give you control. On the worksheet that follows, do the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. N (Name) 20 | P a g e List each option. that option. Under the - column, list the disadvantages of that option. Choose your preferred course of action and do it! Name resources that will help you deal with the situation. For example, people or programs (such as training) at work or outside of work. Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge I-CAN Model Worksheet Identify the negative situation objectively (state the facts): Construct an optimistic response (duration, scope, cause, effect): Assess your option): disadvantages ( - ) of each Option A Option B - Option C - - Name resources (people and programs that can help you deal with the situation): 21 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge 18. Interpreting and Challenging Pessimistic Perceptions Use this SkillGuide to understand the results of pessimistic beliefs and negative events. Use it to interpret and challenge negative events and develop an approach to managing them. Challenging Pessimistic Perceptions Perceptions are our impressions of people and events. They tend to be more powerful than facts. Be aware of misperceptions that produce negative thinking. Pessimistic perceptions have these results: Challenge them by … Generate conflict in yourself or with others Refrain from labelling. For example, if you label someone as a snob, you respond to the label rather than to the person. Stir up distressing thoughts and feelings Ask yourself: "What are some other ways of looking at this situation?" Undermine self-confidence Ask the other person clarifying questions. Examples: "I had the impression that you … is that correct?" "When you said or did … what was your intent?" 22 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Interpretation Interpretation is how we understand a situation. Our pattern of thinking (pessimistic or optimistic) determines how we interpret negative events. Negative events are events that disappoint us or cause a problem. The following table shows how pessimists and optimists interpret the duration, scope, cause, and effect of negative events. As shown in the table, there’s a tremendous difference in the final results. Negative Event Pessimistic Interpretation Optimistic Interpretation Duration Forever Temporary Scope Far-reaching Particular (how many other things will be affected) (affects everything, extensive ramifications) (one situation) Cause Fault-finding, finger-pointing what caused the situation) Practical reasons; what contributing factors caused the situation Helpless Hopeful Learn nothing, so repeat the pattern of failure. Learn what to do differently and better next time, and how to deal with situations more effectively. Effect We can’t necessarily choose what happens, but we can choose how to interpret a situation. We can choose:    what to believe what to perceive how to interpret. In general, we can choose to be pessimistic or optimistic. 19. Determining Origins of Pessimistic Beliefs Use this SkillGuide to understand the factors that determine a person's point of view and origins of their pessimistic beliefs. Use the form to help in challenging your or others pessimistic beliefs. Three factors that determine a person’s point of view:    23 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Challenging Pessimistic Beliefs To determine the origin and validity of your pessimistic belief, complete the following form. Pessimistic belief: What shaped this belief? Is this belief currently valid for me? In terms of experience in life and work, will this belief add to it or detract from it? For negative beliefs, specify evidence to the contrary (for example, positive occurrences and outcomes that contradict the negative view): H. Vocabulary: Path from Pessimism to Optimism Beliefs What we hold to be true based upon our past history, experience and learning. Chronic complaining A means of explaining a sense of helplessness or hopelessness. Defensiveness A negative reaction based on a need to protect oneself from perceived dangers (including the fear of having one's own shortcomings revealed). Habitual negativity An on-going reaction to situations in general. Often based on unfounded fears or misperception, it occurs as a repeated pattern of behaviour. Hostility or resentment Reactions that express a need to blame others for bad events, an inability to take personal responsibility. In reality, resentful or hostile people are blaming themselves, but they aggressively seek to transfer the blame on others. I-CAN A model for training for optimism. Can be used to coach ourselves or others in building optimism. Norms Accepted group behaviour. Perceptions Impressions of people or events: often shaped by long held beliefs. Pessimism A preoccupation with problems and a resistance to change. An attitude of "it won't work." Near-sighted -cannot/will not see the bigger picture. 24 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge (Section 2) Approaches to Turn Around Negativity. I. Proactive Approaches to Stop Negativity 20. Offering Control to Negative Thinkers The only way you can deal with negative thinkers is by having a more open communication with them. Remember that you and the negative thinker are at opposite ends of the spectrum. To be able to arrive at a common platform, you need to understand the negative thinker's point of view. To understand their view, let the negative thinkers speak out. Make them feel that they matter to you and that you are concerned about them. In other words, OFFER CONTROL to prompt a more optimistic response. When you offer control to a negative thinker, you should avoid the following common pitfalls. 1. Don't dictate. When you tell the negative thinker to do something, it may appear that you are taking control of the situation. This in turn can make the negative thinker feel insecure, which understandably is a major hurdle for effective communication. Instead of dictating, suggest to the other person, "Why don't we join forces?" or "What do you think can be done?" This consulting approach implies that both of you are solving the problem mutually. 2. Don't argue. Another pitfall is getting into arguments. When you argue, negative thinkers may feel that you are trying to take control of the situation. This makes them feel insecure. As a result, the argument develops into a fight. You can never win in this situation. This may leave negative thinkers with the impression that their negativity is right. Instead of arguing, ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions encourage dialog and prompt a response from the negative thinker. You can use open-ended questions to elicit a response, express interest, or explore options. Examples are: "Why do you think...?" "Tell me more about your classes." "Can you think of something besides...?" 3. Don't interrupt. The next pitfall to avoid is interrupting. Do not interrupt when the negative thinker is speaking. When you interrupt, negative thinkers feel that you are taking control of the situation. Instead, listen intently to what they are saying. When you listen, you show that you are concerned, and when you restate it, you have an opportunity to confirm that you understood the problem. There are two ways you can demonstrate you're listening.   Non-verbally. By adopting proper body language, such as looking into the person's eyes and tilting your body forward, you're demonstrating that you're listening to the other person. Verbally. You also can demonstrate you're listening by restating what the negative thinker says. 4. Don't adopt the extremes. Finally, avoid the pitfall of adopting the extremes of negative thinking. Avoid using words such as always, never, everywhere, nowhere, everyone, and nobody. These words generalize and suggest that you are not thinking according to the specific situation. When a negative thinker uses extreme language, clarify by asking questions. For example, if the employee says, "This always happens to me," ask "How often?" Clarifying questions are generally of the following types:     Who? "Who talked to you like that?" What? "What was the issue today?" When? "When did this happen last?" Where? "Where did you notice it today?" 25 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes  http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge How? "How did you react to it?" When you ask clarifying questions, you suggest to negative thinkers that what they feel may not always be true, you prevent yourself from getting drawn into the situation, and you take the control off them, at least partially. Besides asking negative thinkers clarifying questions, you can help them to focus on the specifics. One way to do this is by adopting the Three, Two, One approach. Using this approach, you ask questions to help the other person narrow choices and focus thoughts.    Three. "What are the three things you are most concerned about?" Two. "Out of the three, which two would you consider first?" One. "Out of the two, which one would you deal with first?" To sum up, you offer control to the negative thinker by not dictating, not interrupting, and not arguing. If you are faced with extreme language, ask clarifying questions, and do not adopt the extremes of negative thinking. Using these strategies can help you open communication with negative thinkers, so you can deal with them more effectively. 21. Strategies for Managing Your Behaviour When you interact with negative thinkers, it's possible they might feel you are bossing them around or trying to monopolize the conversation. To avoid this, you can offer control to them. But consider a situation when you are interacting with a negative thinker and trying to work out something. The person suddenly stops talking to you or puts you down with an insulting remark. How would you react to such a situation? Many people would react in a negative manner, but that's the worse thing you can do when dealing with a negative thinker. Instead, you need to manage your behaviour to ensure you deal appropriately with a negative thinker, even when that person is attempting to derail the issue. Four common pitfalls to avoid, and the strategies you can use to avoid them, are described below. 1. Putting down the other person, or shutting down A negative thinker might try to derail the issue by inflicting an insulting remark. If this happens, avoid the pitfall of putting down the other person. Instead, look for opportunities to acknowledge the other person. Use validating statements such as, "During your dialog you raised an interesting point," or "Thanks for bringing that to our attention." These validating statements acknowledge the other person, even though you don't agree with the person's point. It boosts the person's confidence. It's important to voice the validating statement in a matter-of-fact tone. If you sound sarcastic or condescending, it will trigger a negative response from the other person. 2. Getting personal When the negative person derails the discussion by inflicting insults on you, avoid getting personal. Stick to the issue at hand. For example, a negative thinker might say to you, "You think you're so smart? You figure it out!" You could get personal and snap back at the person, or you could remain calm and reply by saying something like, "Whether I am smart or not is not the issue here. We were discussing the subject of how we could solve this problem, and I would like to know what your ideas are." This is a much more positive and constructive response. By sticking to the issue and redirecting the conversation back toward the problem, you can get the situation back on the right track. 3. Giving up When you give up, the negative person can get the impression that negativity works. So don't give up. Instead of giving up, apply the principle of perseverance. There are several ways of persevering. 26 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge For example, you can try using "If...then" questions. An example is, "If you don't want to work with me on solving this problem, then I have no option but to let the boss know I'll be working on this by myself. Is that what you want?" These types of questions are also known as "directive questions." You can use directive questions to put the ball back into the other person's court. You also can persevere by exploring new options, suggestions, and possibilities. Another strategy is to try to reach some point of agreement with the other person. Try to find simple things you both can agree on. By reaching a point of agreement, you can create a common platform from which you can think of positive outcomes. Remember, the important point is to persevere. Don't give up. 4. Taking things personally Suppose you are traveling alone in a boat. A leak springs and the boat capsizes. If you take things personally, you may feel that it was your fault. In reality, the reason lies outside of you. To avoid the pitfall of taking things personally, you must remain objective. Don't blame yourself for what lies beyond your control. So, the next time you are interacting with a negative thinker, follow the four simple principles described above. Remember, don't shut down—acknowledge. Don't get personal—stick to the issue. Don't give up—persevere. Don't take it personally— remain objective. By following these four principles, you can manage your behaviour effectively when dealing with negative thinkers. 22. Maintaining a Sense of Humour When dealing with negative thinkers, you must make them feel important. Even when the negative thinker inflicts an insulting remark on you, don't get personal or shut down or give up. Remain objective. Besides these points, remember that when interacting with negative thinkers, you should not take their negativity too seriously. Instead, maintain a sense of humour that is appropriate to the workplace and in good taste. Humour does not solve a problem, but it does relax the atmosphere. Humour not only has a positive effect in the workplace, but also in the other spheres of life. Consider the following points.    Humour stimulates creative thinking. A funny situation relaxes the mind, and ideas flow in. Humour is a desirable trait that employers look for. When a choice has to be made between two equally qualified candidates, the one with a sense of humour is preferred. Humour improves relationships. Research shows that women prefer men with a sense of humour over those without. Humour improves communication possibilities. People with smiles on their faces definitely appear more approachable and open. Remember, humour can help solve problems and improve communication, especially when you're dealing with a negative thinker. J. Confronting Negative Behaviour 23. Dangers of Ignoring Negative Behaviour Suppose you go home tonight, fix your dinner, and think, "I'll just leave the dishes in the sink." What do you find when you enter your kitchen the next morning? You've got a real mess on your hands! Let's carry this situation a bit further. You ignore the dishes and leave them in the sink for another day. What happens? The dishes start to smell, and the smell spreads down the hallway and to other rooms in your house. The same is true for negativity. When you ignore it, the danger is that it will spread to others in your organization. 27 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Interacting with a negative thinker is not an easy task. However, when interacting with a negative thinker, you should not do the following.    Ignore the negative thinker. Ignoring the negative thinker won't help the situation or help solve the problem. Leave the job. There's no point in leaving the job, since you may meet similar people again, and the cycle will repeat itself. React negatively. When you react negatively, it merely intensifies the problem. Ignoring, leaving the job, or reacting negatively will not solve the problem. So what should you do? The answer lies in confronting the negative thinker. For many, the word confrontation has negative connotations. They associate the word with a mean, spirited, angry confrontation. If you too associate confrontation with all that is negative, then it's time to rethink it. Let's start by defining confrontation. The prefix con means "with" and front comes from the Latin word "face." So confront means "face with." To sum up, don't ignore negative behaviour. Deal face to face with the negative person, before negativity spreads across your organization. Confront immediately. 24. Confronting on the Basis of Behaviour Negativity is like a bad smell. It tends to spread when ignored for a long time. So, if somebody's negativity is bothering you, don't ignore the person's behaviour. Confront it. When confronting a negative thinker, you can follow a simple rule of thumb. Always address a negative thinker on the basis of behaviour and not attitude. You may wonder why you should address a person on the basis of behaviour and not attitude. This is because most of us associate attitude with our personal sense of self. Moreover, attitudes are exhibited through a person's behaviour. Behaviour is seen as the way people express themselves:    verbally vocally visually. For example, a person with a negative attitude towards the team will exhibit behaviour that reflects such attitude. Behaviours like not participating in team meetings and not being helpful could be considered as negative. When you identify the ways in which negative thinkers act out their attitudes, it's easier for you to confront them in such a manner that they won't feel you are attacking them personally. Remember, people generally associate attitude with a personal sense of self. So confront a negative thinker on the basis of behaviour, and not attitude. 25. How to Confront Negative Behaviour When you're dealing with a negative thinker, you must confront the person's negative behaviour, rather than ignore it. To confront negative behaviour effectively, you can use the two-part confrontation model. By using this model, which is explained below, you can ensure that your confrontation is appropriate and that you don't attack the negative thinker personally, making the situation worse. 28 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge 1. Identify the negative behaviour. The first step in the confrontation model is to point out the negative thinker's behaviour and explain its consequences. You can identify negative behaviour by following the "I...when you" pattern. The actual words vary from situation to situation. You start by saying, "I find" or "I feel" or "I am concerned about," or you can neutralize the statement even further by saying, "It is," such as, "It is inappropriate," or "It is career-limiting." The "I" or "It is" statement is followed by a "When you..." statement. The "when you" statement describes the negative behaviour and its consequences. Here is an example: "I am concerned about how the morale is affected when you repeatedly express insulting remarks about others. When you do that, it creates unnecessary friction in the team." By using statements such as this, you can let the negative thinker know how you feel without fuelling the other person's negativity. 2. Specify the positive behaviour you want in place of the negative behaviour. You specify the positive behaviour so that the negative thinker understands what is expected from him or her. Again, you can follow the "I...when you" pattern for this step. First, you describe the expected behaviour by using "I want," "I need," "I expect," or "I would prefer" statements. For example, "I expect you to keep insulting remarks to yourself," or "I would prefer that you offer help instead of comments." Then, you should complete the second step by using a "When you..." statement to point out the positive result for correct behaviour. For example, "When you communicate with your co-workers in a positive manner, you will enjoy more cooperation from them." Here's how the statement might sound: "I would prefer that you offer help instead of comments. When you communicate with your co-workers in a positive manner, you will enjoy more cooperation from them." Have a look at the complete confronting model, with the first and second steps.   Identify the negative behaviour. "I am concerned about how morale is affected when you repeatedly express insulting remarks about others. When you do that, it creates unnecessary friction in the team." Specify the positive behaviour. "I would prefer that you offer help instead of comments. When you communicate with your co-workers in a positive manner, you will enjoy more cooperation from them." There are some additional principles you need to apply when confronting a negative thinker. If you fail to follow these principles, you run the risk of provoking even greater levels of negativity. Apply the following principles to get positive results.     Confront in private. Most people will feel offended if they are confronted in the presence of others. Always confront in private and praise in public. Confront one point at a time. Even when you confront in private, remember to confront one point at a time. For example, you can crush the confidence of a negative thinker if you say something like, "Oh yes! In addition to that, I also wanted to tell you not to...." Provide positive feedback. One way to provide positive feedback is by using the Sandwich Technique. In this approach, you start with a positive remark, then confront the negative behaviour, and close with a positive remark. When you open and close a discussion with positive remarks, the negative thinker is more likely to listen and will be more receptive. Provide support and resources. Finally, you must provide support to negative thinkers to help them correct their behaviour. You can provide support by pairing the negative thinker with a senior team member or providing training or counselling. It is up to you to decide how much support you are willing to provide. Remember, when faced with negative behaviour, you must confront it rather than ignore it. By using the model and principles discussed above, you can ensure that you confront the negative thinker in an appropriate and effective manner. 29 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes K. http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Coaching Towards Optimism 26. Venting Negative Feelings When you encounter negativity from others, you can diffuse it in a number of ways. When negativity is habitual, confront it. But when the negativity is situational, you coach. Situational negativity is a negative response toward a genuinely negative situation. Before you can start coaching the person, allow the individual to vent any negative feelings. Let the person express frustration or other negative feelings in an appropriate manner. However, a few guidelines must be borne in mind when you allow the other person to vent. Venting should be appropriate and within limits. In addition, you should listen attentively and express empathy when another person is venting. More information is provided below. 1. Venting should be appropriate. Venting appropriately means venting in private and in a manner so that negativity doesn't spread throughout the organization. Giving vent to one's feelings does not mean blaming others, voicing profanities, issuing threats, or raving and ranting in a hostile manner. 2. Venting should be within limits. In addition to venting appropriately, venting should be within limits. It should not be done repeatedly. If the person who is venting keeps bringing up the same old issues over and over again, venting turns into rumination, and rumination or habitual venting can lead to clinical depression. Let a person vent feelings, but don't let the person repeat the same thing over and over again. It doesn't resolve the issue, but simply makes the person a chronic complainer. 3. Listen attentively to the venting person, and express empathy. Listen attentively to a person who vents his or her negative feelings appropriately. Listening shows that you care. Part of listening attentively involves expressing empathy, not sympathy. There is a difference between empathy and sympathy. An example of each is provided below.   Sympathy relates to the feelings of someone. An example is, "I know just how you feel." Empathy relates to the experience. An example is, "I can see that you're concerned." Don't sympathize with someone who is venting. If you say you "know" how the person feels, you might get a strong negative reaction, such as, "No, you don't know how I feel!" Instead, express your empathy to the person dealing with a negative situation. This demonstrates that you are aware of the situation the person is in. When coaching someone to deal with a negative situation, hear the person out. Let the person vent his or her feelings, so the negativity doesn't spread or become a habit. Listen attentively and express empathy towards that person. By letting the person vent, you can help the individual better deal with the negative situation. 27. Coaching toward Optimism with the I-CAN Model When you encounter situational negativity, you should coach the person towards optimism. Until the time the person vents, your role as a coach is passive. But in the second part of coaching a negative thinker, you play an active role. To help the person overcome negativity, you can use the I-CAN model to guide the person. The four stages of the I-CAN model are Identify, Construct, Assess, and Name. Details on how to use this model to coach a negative thinker are provided below. 30 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge 1. I—Identify The first step of the I-CAN Model is to encourage the negative thinker to factually and objectively identify the negative situation. 2. C—Construct Once the negative thinker identifies the negative situation, you move towards the next step of constructing an optimistic response. Help the person understand the temporary nature of the problem and the practical reasons the problem occurred. 3. A—Assess After the negative thinker identifies the problem and constructs an optimistic response, you move to the next step. You should use a consultative style of communication to offer suggestions and help the negative thinker assess his or her options. 4. N—Name Finally, help the negative thinker name the available resources he or she can use for help. Remember, use the I-CAN model to actively coach negative thinkers toward optimism and help them deal with negative situations. Don't tell them what to do, how to think, or how to feel. Instead, offer suggestions and prompt them to rethink the situation. 28. Coaching toward Optimism Using the AAA List When you coach a negative person towards a more optimistic point of view, allow the person to vent frustrations and other negative feelings. You then can coach the person toward optimism using the I-CAN Model and the AAA List. Often, people become negative because they focus too much on the limitations and shortcomings of themselves or others in the workplace. Focusing on limitations and shortcomings fuels a negative point of view. The solution is to "accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative." You can help the negative thinker focus on the positive by using the AAA List. The three A's in this list stand for Assets, Abilities, and Accomplishments. When you list your assets, abilities, and accomplishments, you focus on the positive aspects. To create an AAA list, have the negative thinker write down the three A's—Assets, Abilities, and Accomplishments—at the top of a piece of paper. Then, ask the person to write down his or her assets in the first column. For example, Bill, who has been given three months time to prove his ability in accounting, could list "accounting skills" as an asset. Another person—a manager for instance—might list "humour" as an asset. Another person might list "computer skills" or "problem-solving" as an asset. In the second column, Bill should list his abilities. He can write "honesty," as he is honest in accepting his mistakes. Similarly, a salesperson might write down the ability to "convince" in the list, and a manager might write "responsible." In the third column, Bill should list his accomplishments. He could list, "Passed the CPA exam" as an accomplishment. Others might write, "Got excellent feedback from the client," or "Conducted a workshop." Once the AAA list is written, it shouldn't be tossed aside. Encourage the person to update it on occasion, and even to make a customized list for a special situation. The best feature of an AAA list is that it can be used by individuals to rate themselves, by a leader to encourage others, and even in a group setting such as a team meeting. The AAA list accentuates the positives when a person's Assets, Abilities, and Accomplishments are listed in each column. Use the AAA list for yourself or to coach others toward optimism. 31 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes L. http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Job Aids: Proactive Approaches to Stop Negativity 29. Acting Upon Versus Reacting To Negativity Use this SkillEval to create a proactive strategy for dealing with negativity using the A.C.T. and A.C.E. programs. Be sure to act upon negativity; don’t react to negativity. Acting upon means consciously choosing to say and do things that will cause a positive response. In other words, you A.C.T. to limit the harmful effects of others’ negativity. A Affirm yourself. Halt negative self-talk (negative thinking). Negative self-talk hurts your selfconfidence. Replace it with positive, affirming self-talk that reinforces your positive attitude. Example: You go to a meeting, extend your hand to introduce yourself to someone, and that person doesn’t reciprocate. Don’t take it personally and think negatively of yourself. Instead, think that there are lots of other people who would want to meet you. Introduce yourself to someone else. C Create measures to maintain your positive view. This insulates you from the negativity of other people.     T Keep a joy journal and a laughter log. A few times a week, make entries about things that gave you joy or made you laugh. When you have a bad day, review your log. Collect anything that conveys a positive, humorous message. For example, comics, cards, or inspirational quotations. Surround yourself, whenever possible, with positive people. Practice flip-side thinking. When there is a negative situation, think of the good side of that situation. Take a time out. Find a reason to remove yourself from the negative interaction, even if only briefly for a "breather." Do deep relaxation breathing, review your joy journal and laughter log, or do flip-side thinking. 32 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Dealing with the Negativity of Other People To Meaning A Accountability Hold people accountable for their behaviour. Establish expectations and consistently follow through to ensure that the expectations are met. Examples     C Communication Have an exchange of information and ideas. E Empowerment Empowerment counteracts issues that generate negativity. Establish ground rules for behaviour. Do performance reviews that emphasize positive behaviour. Have improvement programs that clarify what improvements need to be made, usually within 60 days. State expectations; what behaviour is and is not acceptable.   Empowerment:    enhances a person’s sense of control because it provides choices. increases a person’s sense of community because it involves working with other people in collaborative efforts. increases a person’s confidence because when you empower someone, it shows you have confidence in the person.   Delegate tasks. Encourage the person to participate in brainstorming sessions and to join task forces. Provide information that will help the person perform their job better. Provide training that will strengthen their skills. Empowered people are less likely to develop negativity in the first place. 30. How Negativity Travels and How to Stop it Use this SkillGuide to better understand catalysts that contribute to the spread of negativity and determine actions to avoid its spread. Review the catalysts, suggested actions and key tips to help eliminate the spread of negativity. 33 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Being aware of behaviours that trigger a negative reaction can help you stay objective. The more objective you are, the more you can remain calm and composed when you interact with a negative thinker. Catalysts - Take these actions … If negativity is spreading for this reason … Contagious mood    Conflicting views     Communication behaviours    Don’t be a "carrier." (If you’re in a bad mood, don’t inflict your bad mood on someone else.) Don’t adopt the negative moods of other people. Remain optimistic. Accept the fact that other people have different views from yours. Stay focused on the subject. (Don’t allow the conversation to become personal.) Learn and apply conflict resolution skills. (Learn them from books, tapes, and seminars. Identify the positions and interests of each person; then brainstorm options for solving the problem so each person’s interests are at least partially satisfied.) Manage your behaviour when dealing with other people’s negativity. (When the conflict is finished, you want to be remembered as having professional, positive behaviour.) words you use. sound (tone) of your voice. For example, do you sound accusatory? Notice your body language, such as eye contact, posture, and facial expressions. Examples of negative behaviour are rolling your eyes, avoiding eye contact, standing with your hands on your hips, and pointing your finger at someone. How to Stop the Spread of Negativity - additional tips:  Manage stress. People who are stressed tend to have quick negative reactions to small things.  Notice how your behaviour affects a negative-thinking person. If a certain verbal or non-verbal behaviour is offending that person, try to stop that behaviour so you’re not adding to their negativity.  Do not react to the negative behaviours of others. Acknowledge the person’s feelings and don’t "buy into" the negativity. If you react in a negative way yourself then:    the other person’s negativity escalates. you risk damaging the relationship. you may be perceived as negative and the cause of the problem. Act upon 34 | P a g e not argumentative. Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge 31. Recognizing and Acting Upon Negative Thinking Use this SkillEval to better understand how negative thinkers communicate and how to react to overcome the negativity. Review the three modes of negative thinking, characteristics and examples, and use the worksheet to develop a plan for your specific situation. Negative thinkers typically communicate in three modes:    Defensiveness Hostility or resentment Chronic complaining Mode of Negative Thinking and characteristics Examples 1. Defensiveness  Expresses a need to protect themselves from perceived dangers (including the fear of having their own shortcomings revealed).     "It wasn’t my fault." "Nobody ever tells me anything." "That’s not my job." "Do I have to do everything myself?" "That will never work." Take these actions the need to defend themselves against. behaviours, not attitudes. agree. positive statements rather than negative, blaming statements. refrain from subjectively comparing the person to other people. help the person gain a sense of control over their circumstances. plan to deal with their feelings in a constructive, not reactionary, manner.  2. Hostility or resentment Blames others for bad events. In reality, negative people often are blaming themselves, but they seek to blame others.   "You should have known better." "Nobody ever does this right." "Look at the mess you got us into." behaviours (verbal and nonverbal) you observed. people perceive him or her. usually respond to their negative behaviour. of continuing their behaviour. e behaviours that will get them what they want. 3. Chronic complaining 35 | P a g e  "Why bother; nobody cares, This can be a learned behaviour that a person uses to get things, or a symptom of Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes Expresses helplessness and hopelessness. Having allowed negativity into almost every aspect of their lives, chronic complainers view negative events in a pessimistic manner: forever, far-reaching, and their own or someone else’s fault. http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge  anyway." "It’s useless to try to talk sense into them." depression. If it is related to depression, do the following:        36 | P a g e Acknowledge that the person appears distressed. Express concern for the person. Ask if the person realizes that other people notice their behaviour. Acknowledge, as valid, some of their concerns or fears. Help them distinguish between realistic and unrealistic expectations. Help them formulate an action plan for gaining more control over their circumstances. Encourage them to seek and use resources that will enable them to express and deal with their feelings of hopelessness. Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Worksheet for Identifying and Correcting Your Negative Behaviour Person being evaluated: Person providing evaluation: Date of evaluation: Actions Results and Notes Step 1: Identify behaviours. To determine if you have any negative behaviours, obtain feedback from someone you trust by asking: "Do I seem negative?" Step 2: If the answer to the above question is yes, ask the evaluator to answer the following question. "What do I say or do that gives the impression that I am negative?" Step 3: Identify situations. Put an X in the appropriate boxes to indicate where you feel you’re negative and by whom. Where By Whom Home My children Work My partner Stressful situations Friends Other My boss Co-workers Step 4: PLAN for positive change. Use the PLAN program outlined below to act upon your negativity. P Pick one behaviour (from Step 1) and one situation (from Step 2) that you want to improve first. It’s recommended that you start by picking one that you will be able to change quickly and easily. L Learn optimism. A Alert. Be alert to how others respond to you, both verbally and nonverbally. Ask for clarification about their response. N 37 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge critical. M. Vocabulary: Proactive Approaches to Stop Negativity Beliefs What we hold to be true based upon our past history, experience and learning. Chronic complaining A means of explaining a sense of helplessness or hopelessness. Defensiveness A negative reaction based on a need to protect oneself from perceived dangers (including the fear of having one's own shortcomings revealed). Habitual Negativity An on-going reaction to situations in general. Often based on unfounded fears or misperception, it occurs as a repeated pattern of behaviour. Hostility or resentment Reactions that express a need to blame others for bad events, an inability to take personal responsibility. In reality, resentful or hostile people are blaming themselves, but they aggressively seek to transfer the blame on others. I-CAN A model for training for optimism. Can be used to coach ourselves or others in building optimism. Perceptions Impressions or people or events: often shaped by long held beliefs. Pessimism Preoccupied with problems, resists change, "it won't work," near-sighted (can't/won't see the bigger picture). Pragmatism The pragmatist is results-oriented; addresses valid concerns with a view to improvement; focuses on present and near-future needs and goals; generates ideas and weighs their respective merits; action-oriented. Realistic optimism Seeks solutions; receptive to needed change; ready and willing to "give it a go." Situational negativity An initial, temporary and normal reaction to a negative event. It is realistically based on a specific adversity or valid concern. Negative reactions do not infect all aspects of the individual's life. Scepticism The sceptic spots problems; plays the devil's advocate; analyses and questions change; "prove it, show me," exercises caution. Traveling negativity Negativity that is carried from situation to situation and/or passes from person to person. Contagious moods, conflicting views, and communication behaviours are all carriers of traveling negativity. Unbridled optimism Never sees a problem; incites change; "all is possible," farsighted (sees the big picture to the exclusion of each part), "don't worry, be happy." 38 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes 39 | P a g e http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge (Section 3) Overcoming Organizational Negativity N. Job Aids: Overcoming Organizational Negativity 32. Understanding Issues that Cause Negative Thinking Use this SkillGuide to better understand and address issues that may cause negative thinking. Review the issues and examples and use the notes column to begin to develop a plan for overcoming negative thinking. Issue How to Overcome Lack of community People generally feel and function best when they have a sense of community. Negativity often results when people are, or think they are, excluded from the group.  Distinguish between what you can and can’t control; that is, identify things you can change and things you can’t.  Lack of control Determine your options and act on one. Options are choices; when you choose and act on an option, you are exercising control.  If your airline flight is delayed, you can choose to read. What you read may be beneficial to you in your job or personal life.  Get to know your coworkers and team members.  Ask a staff member to be a mentor. Join professional organizations, trade organizations, and community groups. At work, take part in a task force, join problem-solving or brainstorming sessions, or volunteer to work on a project. Form mutually supportive and encouraging relationships. Participate in projects or programs that provide group interaction.  Personal and Employee Notes You may not be able to control changes in your job, but you can choose to learn new applicable skills or get a different job.     Develop your interpersonal skills by listening to applicable tapes or attending seminars about interpersonal communication.  40 | P a g e Examples Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes Lack of confidence http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge  Lack of confidence is related to low selfesteem.   Regularly reaffirm your Ask yourself: individual value and the value you  What did I complete contribute to the successfully? workplace; make a mental or written list  What deadline did I of the contributions meet? you make both at work and at home.  What achievements am I proud of? Keep a journal of your accomplishments and achievements, large and seemingly small. Put yourself in situations where you will have the opportunity to do experience success. Success builds confidence.  Don’t be a perfectionist. It is unattainable. 33. Producing Positive Norms and Overcoming Negativity Use this SkillGuide for a step-by-step approach to transforming negative norms into positive norms. Review the steps below and use the worksheet to develop a strategy and action plan. Form a group to transform negative norms into positive norms. The steps are listed and described below. At the end of the description there is a worksheet that you can complete. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Develop a normative profile. Prioritize the negative norms. Clarify the change. Identify behaviours. Brainstorm and begin. Step 1: Develop a Normative Profile 1. Identify all norms that exist in the organization. It is helpful if you complete the following sentences: "It is a trademark or policy in the company to …" "In this organization (or department), it is best to …" 2. Rank each norm according to its effect on the organization. 1, 2, 3 = Positive 41 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge 4, 5, 6 = Moderate 7, 8, 9, 10 = Highly negative 3. From the normative profile, create a separate list of negative norms. This list represents the norms the group will focus on changing. Step 2: Prioritize the Negative Norms Assign a priority to each negative norm. Norms should have the highest priorities if they meet the following criteria:   they are the easiest to change they will have the most significant positive impact when changed. Be realistic about "what" you can change. Focus on norms that affect immediate work. Step 3: Clarify the Change 1. 2. Write a concise statement describing the negative norm your group will work on. Write a concise statement describing the new positive norm that you want to replace the negative one with. Step 4: Identify Behaviours 1. 2. List specific behaviours that tend to maintain the negative norm described in Step 3. For example, people are always late for meetings or complain constantly. List replacement behaviours that will help produce the positive norm. For example, people are on time for meetings and they settle their differences in private without shouting. Step 5: Brainstorm and Begin 1. 2. 3. Generate ideas for ways to bring about the desired changes. Consult with friends and co-workers, as well as team members. Determine what the group needs to turn these ideas into reality. For example, money, coaching, counselling, and training. Recognize and reward the behaviour you want to increase. 42 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Worksheet Producing Positive Norms 1. Develop a normative profile. Norm Effect Positive Negative 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Negative norms: 2. Prioritize negative norms according to what will be changed. Negative Norm Priority for Changing (1 = lowest; 5 = highest) Consider ease of change and impact of change. 1 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 43 | P a g e 2 2 3 4 5 Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes 3. http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Clarify the change. Negative norm that group will work on: Positive norm that will replace negative norm: 4. Identify behaviours. Negative norm behaviours: Positive norm behaviours: 5. Brainstorm and begin. Ideas for New Positive Norm Behaviours Things Needed to Bring About That Behaviour B = Budget C = Coaching, counselling T = Training Other 34. Understanding the Impact of Norms Use this SkillGuide to better understand positive and negative norms, how norms create pressure to conform, and how inconsistencies in norms can lead to negative behaviour. Norms are group behaviour. There are several definitions of norms.  A pattern or trait considered typical behaviour of a group.  Behaviour of a group’s members that is anticipated and expected by the group. 44 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes  http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Learned behaviour and attitudes that people practice to be perceived as "fitting in" with the group of which they are or want to be a part. Positive Norms    Negative Norms    Build morale Foster friends Contribute to productivity and profitability of the organization Destroy morale Destroy customer relations Destroy efficiency of workgroup or organization Norms can be stated or unstated. Inconsistency between stated and unstated norms leads to loss of trust, which causes negativity. Norm type and Characteristics Examples …    Policy manuals Mission statements Memos Unstated  Policies and expectations are not stated explicitly; they are implied. They consist of what people do, not what they say.  Our organization examples If you want to succeed, go along with the way things are done. The top performers can wear whatever they want. Stated Official policies or organizational expectations are formulated in writing or verbally conveyed. How Norms Create Pressure to Conform Three factors affect the formation of norms:    Peer pressure Leadership behaviour Accepted behaviour Peer pressure norms:   People are criticized or ostracized for behaving differently from most other people in their group. People new to a group quickly learn what’s required to belong. Leadership behaviour norms:   Behaviour by a strong leader or influential person is viewed as "sanctioned." Other people feel if it’s OK for that person, it’s OK for them. People in leadership positions are perceived to be successful. People who want to advance tend to emulate the behaviour of successful people. Accepted behaviour norms: 45 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes  http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge When you accept a particular behaviour, people assume it is sanctioned and they can use the same behaviour to get things done. Repeated behaviour becomes norms. 35. Communicating With a Negative Thinker: Pitfalls Use this SkillGuide to understand the pitfalls to avoid when communicating with a negative thinker. If you do any of the three things listed below, a negative thinker will think you’re trying to control. To avoid … Do this … For example … 1. Dictating Make suggestions. Consulting implies that both of you are solving a problem mutually.   "Why don’t we join hands …" "What do you think can be done?" 2. Arguing Ask open-ended questions that elicit their views or explore options.   "What do you think?" "Can you think of something besides … ?" 3. Interrupting Listen intently to show you’re interested and concerned.   Be aware of your body language. Restate what the person said. Don’t adopt the extremes of negative thinking. To avoid … Extremes Do this …    Avoid extreme words. Ask clarifying questions. Questions usually involve who, what, when, where, or how. Your clarifying question suggests to the negative person that what he/she feels may not always be true. Help the negative person focus on specifics by using the 3, 2, 1 approach. For example …  Extremes. Avoid words such as always, never, everywhere, nowhere, everyone, and nobody.  Clarifying question. If person says: "This always happens to me." You say: "How often?"  3, 2, 1 approach. Ask: "What three things are you most concerned about?" "Which two of the three would you consider first?" "Which one of the two would you deal with first?" When communicating with a negative person, do NOT do any of the following: 46 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes     http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge Put down the person or try to get the person to stop talking Get personal Give up Take things personally To avoid … Do this … Putting down the person or getting the person to stop talking Acknowledge the person by using validating statements. Even though you don’t agree with the person, it increases their confidence. Getting personal Discuss only the issues; redirect conversation to that subject. Giving up    Taking things personally   For example …  "Thanks for bringing that to our attention." "That’s something I hadn’t thought of."  "If …, then you leave me no option other than …" Use directive questions ("If … then …"). Explore new options. Try to reach a point of agreement. Remain objective. Don’t blame yourself for things that you can’t control. 36. Assessing the Organization Use this SkillGuide to assess different aspects within your organization, department/functional area, team/work group. Score each item from 1 to 5, where assessments closer to 1 reflect positive opinions and assessments closer to 5 reflect highly negative opinions. When you finish, continue to the Scoring section and determine your results. Organization 1. There is a general sense that this organization is doing well and will continue to do so. the organization has a bright future 1 2 3 4 5 the organization is in serious trouble 2. People who work in the organization generally feel secure in their jobs. job security is very high 1 2 3 4 5 job security is very low 3. The top management of my organization has a clear sense of how to make it I strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 I strongly disagree 47 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge successful, and are generally considered competent. 4. People who work here are generally proud of the organization's product(s) and service(s). I strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 I strongly disagree 5. Given other job opportunities, most employees in my organization would choose to stay in this organization. few people would leave 1 2 3 4 5 a lot of people would leave Department or Functional Area 1. My department is generally considered a good place to work in this organization. I strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 I strongly disagree 2. Other groups in my organization generally consider my department / function to be a competent and productive component of the organization. I strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 I strongly disagree 3. I would rate morale in my department at the present time as: mostly very high 1 2 3 4 5 mostly very low 4. The manager of my department / function is: highly competent and a good leader 1 2 3 4 5 ineffective and generally disliked 1. People on my team or in my work group, for most part: are highly concerned with the quality of their work 1 2 3 4 5 don't care what type of jobs they do 2. The people I work with every day are generally positive and upbeat. I strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 I strongly disagree Team or work group 48 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge 3. People on my team or in my work group: rarely complain or gripe 1 2 3 4 5 complain and gripe a lot 4. Our supervisor or team leader gives our group a strong sense of where we are going and what we need to accomplish. I strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 I strongly disagree 5. People in my workgroup generally: almost always go the extra mile 1 2 3 4 5 can't wait until quitting time to leave 6. Our supervisor or team leader helps maintain a positive and encouraging work environment. I strongly agree 1 2 3 4 5 I strongly disagree Scoring Add up your total score for each level and then review the level of negativity score groups for each assessment area. Organization: _______ Department: _______ Work team: _______ Organization level of negativity: low=5-10 medium=11-19 high=20-25 Department level of negativity: low=4-9 medium=9-14 high=15-20 Work team level of negativity: low=6-13 medium=14-22 high=23-30 What insights do you gain, or what conclusions do you reach, about the level of negativity at each of the three levels? _______________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ 49 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace
    • Study Notes http://SlideShare.net/OxfordCambridge O. Vocabulary: Overcoming Organizational Negativity Beliefs What we hold to be true based upon our past history, experience, and learning. Chronic complaining A means of explaining a sense of helplessness or hopelessness. Defensiveness A negative reaction based on a need to protect oneself from perceived dangers (including the fear of having one's own shortcomings revealed). Habitual Negativity An on-going reaction to situations in general. Often based on unfounded fears or misperception and occurs as a repeated pattern of behaviour. Hostility or resentment Reactions that express a need to blame others for bad events, an inability to take personal responsibility. In reality resentful or hostile people are blaming themselves, but they aggressively seek to transfer the blame to others. I-CAN A training model for optimism. Can be used to coach ourselves or others in building optimism. Norms Accepted group behaviour. Perceptions Impressions of people or events: often shaped by long-held beliefs. Pessimism Preoccupied with problems, resists change, "it won't work", near-sighted (can't/won't see the big picture). Pragmatist The pragmatist is results-oriented; addresses valid concerns with a view to improvement; focuses on present and near-future needs and goals; generates ideas and weighs their respective merits; action-oriented. Realistic optimism Seeks solutions; receptive to needed change; ready and willing to "give it a go." Situational negativity An initial, temporary, and normal reaction to a negative event. It is realistically based on a specific adversity or valid concern. Negative reactions do not infect all aspects of the individual's life. Scepticism The sceptic spots problems; plays the devil's advocate; analyses and questions change; "prove it, show me," exercises caution. Stated norms Official policies or organizational expectations (goals, values, mission, etc.) that are formalized in writing or conveyed verbally. Traveling negativity Negativity that is carried from situation to situation and/or is passed from person to person. Contagious moods, conflicting views, and communication behaviours are all carriers of traveling negativity. Unbridled optimism Never sees a problem; incites change; "anything is possible," farsighted (sees the big picture to the exclusion of each part), "don't worry, be happy." Unstated norms Actions carried out "informally" in the name of tradition, or as a result of habit or group expectations. Unstated norms consist of what people do rather than what they say. 50 | P a g e Overcoming Negativity in Workplace