positivity is contagious

No Negative Nancy’s Allowed – Why Positivity in the Workplace is Key

By: Andrea Conrad

It’s no secret the working world can be a challenge. We all have good days and we all have bad days, but positivity is one of the keys to unlocking your happiness at work.

Speaking from experience, our moods can change in an instant. My co-worker looked at me the wrong way, my client called and needed something 10 minutes ago and my boss has changed his mind on what he wanted 15 times. I’ve learned recently that we can’t change situations or others. However, we can change how we choose to react.

So, would you rather react in fear, frustration and anger, or with acceptance, joy and positivity?

It’s your choice.

Let’s take a look at what positivity in the workplace can do for your career and those around you:

Promotes respect within the workplace. We all know someone who is quick to point out the challenges and issues associated with typical workplace tasks. It’s almost like their reactions are predictable. Their reactions can lead to workplace conflict, other adverse situations and behavioral trends that can negatively impact the company. From my personal perspective, it’s much harder to respect someone who consistently sees the negative and has trouble seeing the glass half full.

Fosters the collaborative nature of our jobs. On the other hand, people who portray positive personality traits with strong attitudes are more fun and easier to work with. I would much rather work with a positive person than a Negative Nancy who complains and brings down the rest of the crowd.

It’s contagious. According to Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter, researchers have found that when subjects “catch” positive emotions from others, they’re more likely to be viewed by others and view themselves as more cooperative and competent. They also perceive themselves as more collegial (see the research of Sigal Barsade). Simply put, when you hang out with happy people, you tend to feel happier, have more energy and feel less stressed. Additionally, individuals who do not shy away from challenges and approach them in a positive manner can easily impact those around them.

At Identity, we have positive role models. Our managing partner, Mark Winter, is a great example of someone who promotes positive thinking, especially when faced with obstacles. Even his choice of words reflect this thinking. In Mark’s mind, every “challenge” is an “opportunity.”

Higher confidence with self, co-workers and clients. Regardless of the stage of your career, managing and improving your level of confidence should be a constant focus. When you first start your career, confidence can be a major impediment to growth. Often, a lack of it can be seen physically. Confidence leads to a higher willingness to tackle new and more challenging types of work—the outcomes of which can perpetuate more confidence and make you feel more positive about your work. On the other side of this, positive affirmations and visualizations can help boost confidence levels.

Increases productivity.recent study out of the University of Michigan found that “positive and virtuous practices” can help an entire workplace perform better. Kim Cameron explains, “When organizations institute positive, virtuous practices they achieve significantly higher levels of organizational effectiveness—including financial performance, customer satisfaction and productivity…The more the virtuousness, the higher the performance in profitability, productivity, customer satisfaction and employee engagement.”

There are thousands of ways to bring positivity into the workplace. Some of my favorite ways (because they’re allowed at Identity) are dance parties, Monday morning celebration meetings, sharing positive affirmations, giving compliments or praise and fun lunch table conversations.

One of my favorite TEDx talks by Psychologist Shawn Achor tells us that we need to start leading with positivity.

So, I challenge you to take a temporary break from Debbie Downer and practice positive actions that can lead to a better you (and a better employee). It worked for me!