Accentuate the Positive is the New Workplace Mantra

Joe Weinlick
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In the face of deadlines and crises, you can all too easily to slip into a negative, threat-driven mindset at work. The build-up of negativity over time can damage corporate culture and erode worker satisfaction. For managers, finding ways to stay positive can transform the office environment by cutting back on work-related stress, encouraging creativity and reducing employee turnover.

Emphasize Strengths

In many Western cultures, particularly in the United States, businesses focus heavily on solving problems and fixing weaknesses. Research shows, however, that emphasizing strengths is a more effective strategy. Consider the effort, emotion and frustration that goes into forcing yourself into a mold that just doesn't fit; in an office, that wasted energy often creates stress and anger. Instead of pushing your employees to shore up their weak areas, stay positive and encourage them to work to their strengths. By allowing people to focus on their passions and capabilities rather than their insecurities and struggles, you can build a safer and happier atmosphere.

Lead by Example

For better or worse, employees take their cues from their managers. When you are constantly focused on the current problem or preparing for the next crisis, it can be difficult for your team members to stay positive. If you notice that the many of your employees seem to be unhappy in the office, evaluate and adjust your management style. Don't express all of your worries out loud, as doing so creates an atmosphere of fear and instability that can make it difficult for people to concentrate on their responsibilities. Instead of berating team members for mistakes, take time to celebrate their successes. Make an effort to discuss potential and growth in equal measure with risk and failure. While it's not possible to stay positive 100 percent of the time, regular doses of sunshine can make the occasional piece of bad news easier to bear.

Build a Positive Culture

Corporate culture has a considerable impact on a person's ability to perform to the best of his abilities. Happy employees are more likely to greet customers with a smile, work harder to find the best solution and remain loyal to the company. As part of your new positivity mantra, work to build a welcoming and supportive culture. Create opportunities to have fun with casual group lunches, parties or games. Ask for feedback from employees and make changes accordingly. Appreciate your workers as human beings and allow them the time and space to deal with personal issues when needed. Over the long term, hire candidates for their cultural fit as well as their skills. These small efforts to stay positive can transform the office environment in dramatic and meaningful ways.

A happy and safe workplace is the foundation for employee engagement, job satisfaction and growth. By making a conscious effort to stay positive, you can make the office a better place to be.


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