It’s always great to meet an optimist; that natural exuberance and can-do attitude is very infectious. But on the other side of the same coin, someone with a negative outlook can be really energy-sapping.
Winston Churchill summed it up perfectly when he said: “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” (Hear, hear!)
I’m sure many of you have come across people at either end of the spectrum, and know that both impact on productivity, effectiveness and morale. As a leader of someone who is not on board, someone who is negative and sharing that view with their peers, or someone is going out of their way to disagree with you, how do you deal with that?
Here’s a few tips to help you get the best from these people, which we’ve picked up along our way:
Ask them what specifically it is that they are unhappy about – and really listen to what they say. See things through their perspective – you may be surprised! Reflect on your own personal communication style – was it right for your people? Keep talking to them – giving people the chance to off load often diffuses a situation. Make sure you “protect” one thing that they are passionate about i.e. their desk, and make sure that they know you’ve done that for them.
So what about those on your team who are “on your bus”, those that have a positive mindset and openly share that with others – how do you make sure that they stay that way? We’ve jotted down a few tips to help you keep your positive people flying high:
Catch them doing it right – and tell them! Ask them for ideas – they will always have stacks. Encourage them to think of any possible hurdles they may need to overcome proactively – so that they are not thrown off kilter by challenges. Encourage them to be vocal in meetings and briefing sessions. Give them public recognition for the positive part they are playing.
As a leader, you absolutely need to be role modelling the power of positivity every day, that’s not to say you have to run around the office smiling and skipping. However, you should, as Churchill said be focusing on opportunities. In today’s tough business environment having a positive mindset could really be the competitive edge that you and you team have.