1. Benefits of a Positive Attitude at Work
How manyof you can name the mostchallengingpersontoworkwithatyourjob? How
manyof you may be that person?Bythe way,if youhave to thinkthat youmay be or you have someone
inyour workenvironmentthatischallengingtodeal with….readon.
Thinkfor 5 secondsaboutthatperson...whatare afew wordsthat come to your mindaboutthem?....or
howdo people reacttoyou whenyouenterthe roomif you
are the mostchallengingpersontoworkwith? If youare still
wonderingwhatcategoryyoubelongin,readon,there will be
The majorityof us spendover2500 hours,150,000 minutesor
9M secondsinthe workplace within one year.Don’twe
deserve tobe comfortable andproductive consideringthat
investmentof time?Unfortunately,we have all succumbedtothe impactof the ogre inour midsttoo
manytimes,andfindmuchof that time investedin placating, pacifyingorignoringthe impactof the
mostchallengingperson(s) atourjobs. We usuallyendupbeingfrustratedatthemfortheirbehavior,
hopingthattheirbad attitudesdon’t“infect”otherslikethe flu,ormaybe hope theygetthe flu.We also
tendto recognize the lackof productivitywhentheyare around,andevenwhentheycontribute orhave
a more comfortable demeanor,wonderwhentheywillreturnto theirtypical behavior.
What makesus tolerate those behaviors orbetteryetwhatshouldwe do?The answerliesin
understandingthe benefitsof apositive attitudeatworkand beingwillingtotrainthose withbehaviors
to understandhowtheyare impactingthe workenvironment.
Benefit 1. Mutual care and concern for others is infectious, and impacts you both personally
and physically. Personally, your sense of well-being improves in human engagement and most
people react in a positive, appreciative manner. This concern and care for others come right
down to choice. You can choose to show care, concern, and have a positive attitude and
outlook. Choose to be positive, exemplify positive energy around others, and positive attitudes
will follow. If fact, others impacted by your consistent positive attitude look forward to being in
your presence. Benefit 2. As it relates to physical impacts, your body releases the hormone and
neurotransmitter oxytocin when bonding occurs between people, even in short moments of
time. In these moments, there is some improvement in cardiac vagal tone, which is best
described as our body’s reaction to maintain our composure and calm. Conversely, stress
produces adrenaline within our bodies, and bad attitudes and the behaviors that follow are
2. stressful, both to those causing stress and those receiving stress. So the first two benefits of a
positive attitude has are related to your health and creating good habits for others.
Benefit 3. Earlier, we asked you to name and to use 5 seconds to think about the most
challenging person or co-worker in your work environment. After you thought about them,
what words of description came to mind? Some possible responses may be: angry, mean
spirited, difficult, argumentative, childish, insecure, bully among others and those are probably
the nicer descriptions. The other benefit to a having a positive attitude at work is to be
productive. In our current work environments, most companies are choosing or have been
forced to do more with less. When you have negative attitudes at work, the majority of this
behavior breeds less productivity among those directly or indirectly impacted. The negative
behavior also generates many “meetings after the meetings” just to discuss what many
witnessed as negative behavior. The responses listed above are just adjectives, but the result of
those descriptions and others tend to be less productivity. Typically, the negative behavior,
though generally isolated, has an interesting way of “changing the room” unless you combat it
head on with a positive attitude. The energy, attention and time that negative attitudes take to
manage have to reduce the amount of time spent in getting things done. So, the third benefit
to a positive attitude is enhancing productivity, in you and in others.
Though I am sure there are many more benefits to having a positive attitude at work, and since
most people do, we are not talking about a great number of people, there are just enough to
annoy the heck out of you and others. The reason
that we tolerate negative attitudes at work mostly
stem from our lack of comfort in handling these
behaviors, challenge and energy that it takes, and a
general reluctance to handle confrontation in the
workplace. Though these situations exist, there are
ways that may help us to handle such challenges.
Training tips for negative attitudes
Tip 1. Provide direct feedback to express the behavior, privately, or if appropriate, when it
occurs. In this one, be conscious of audience, potential negative consequences, format, etc. Be
sure to include the specific words, actions, behaviors, who or what it was addressing, impact to
individuals or to the work being done. Even some guilt of their behavior may work on those
with a bad work attitude. Whenever these behaviors exist, consistent recognition will at
minimum create some level of accountability or expectation that there negativity will be
Reduce the powerand
3. Tip 2. Be kind to the negative behavior publicly or privately. Surprise and reduce the energy
involved in the negative behavior with positive, good behavior regardless of how difficult that
may be at the time. Also, inject as much appropriate or timely humor in situations or
circumstances where negative attitude is present. In this tip, remain conscious of the audience,
venue, consequences, and issue being addressed. If possible, assist this person in a project or
work related activity, or if this is a subordinate, request that they work with someone you know
will impact them in a positive way with their good attitude.
Tip 3. Use body language as a tool to impact bad attitudes at work. There is a great deal of
power in silence, short moments of staring at someone when their behavior negatively impacts
others, and an occasional chuckle is appropriate when the negative behaviors are on display.
Other body language tips include turning your shoulder or face away from them when speaking
to the group (shunning) such that their need to be negative is reduced, especially if you are
sitting next to them in meeting places. Other usage of eye contact may be peering over your
glasses or paper and ensure they notice, or look away after gaining contact with a subtle shake
of your head or wry smile. The power of body language is underutilized in the workplace to
influence more positive behaviors, so use it.
Tip 4. Using your voice is another component that influences negative behavior in a positive
way. With this tool, you may need to experiment to determine which behavior positively
influences those with a negative demeanor or attitude. Our natural instinct is to “match” voice
tone or volume, and that may work, however, a controlled, even voice tone and volume may be
just as effective. Along with using your voice are additional components such as careful word
choice, pace, and inclusion.
Hopefully, if you attempt to recognize the benefits, influence your workplace in a positive way
with your positive attitude, as well as adopting some of the tips to “train” your co-workers or
peers, your work environment will become more positive, productive and comfortable.