How to stay Positive in the Office
It’s all very well trying to be positive outside the office, but how do you keep motivated and focused on your own work tasks and objectives when it seems that many of your team members are trying to drag you down, or are more engaged in game playing than actual work?
We normally advocate using positive statements and mantras to assist in remaining focused and positive, but when it comes to navigating through the complexities of office politics the psychologists tend to recommend tougher action. So, here are their 10 ways to stay positive in the office:
- Avoid the Nay-sayers who huddle around the water cooler and will try to dampen the spirits of even the happiest team member on a cold damp Monday morning. If you really can’t avoid them, then prepare a counter-argument to their latest gripe, for example, regarding the Autumn weather: ‘Count yourself lucky you’re not in Cuba or Florida right now! Then walk away; if you keep doing this they’ll stop moaning to you.
- Stop gossiping: The power of Chinese whispers never ceases to amaze me. At Natural Talent we are sometimes asked to mediate when an interpersonal dispute between team members has got out of control; on a number of occasions the disagreement has stemmed from a simple misunderstanding, misconception or miscommunication, which has been exacerbated by the rumour mill. Remain dignified in the workplace and remember that if you are talking in a negative way about a colleague, chances are that they will be doing the same about you.
- Don’t form a clique or join one: If you have created a clique, don’t be surprised when others do. Becoming involved in Empire Building and power plays usually results in some form of conflict and failure. If you decide to take a stand against something or someone, don’t be surprised when your colleagues renege and protect their own interests leaving you to appear as the scapegoat.
- Stop breaking Confidentiality: Remember that if you tell a colleague a ‘secret’ the average person will end up telling up to seven people your ‘secret’. This can sometimes have a career ending impact so remain authentic and maintain confidentiality at all times.
- Stop judging: Unfortunately employees continue to experience bullying, harassment and prejudice in the workplace. Tackling Unconscious Bias is a big issue for HR, aggravated by Brexit. Even though we can’t control our unconscious thinking, we can control our words and behaviours. So stop reaching swift conclusions about individuals as it’s unlikely you know what is really going on in someone’s life.
- Stop worrying about what other people think: Everyone is different, everyone has their own issues, motivations and values; most people draw their own conclusions about others and frequently form the wrong impression. If you want to know what your team members really think of you ask for constructive feedback from people you can rely on or enlist in a 360 Feedback Review. Or, if you really struggle with this issue read ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k’ by Sarah Knight.
- Stop comparing yourself to other people: In the workplace often there can be resentment against those who have been promoted; sometimes it is clear why one person is successful and others can’t seem to climb the career ladder. In extreme cases, no matter how good the team member is, their face just doesn’t seem to fit and they choose to move on. If you concentrate on being the best you can be and work on improving yourself and your work by 1% each day you can be proud and satisfied that you have done your best.
- ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff at work’: Read Richard Carlson’s little book which is full of recommendations on how to manage stress and build resilience in order to have a happier working experience.
- In times of organizational change try to embrace the changes. It is proven that employees who progress quickly along the Change Curve go on to have more productive and successful careers than those who resist change.
- Align your work and objectives with the company strategy: Workers who understand what they are contributing to the organization and why, are more actively engaged and motivated. Keep focused on what you want to achieve, practise your positive mantras, work on modifying your behaviour and achieving your SMART goals.