Everyone wants their staff to have an upbeat, can-do attitude at work, but achieving this is not always easy.
There are two reasons for this, temperamental and circumstantial. In the first case, some people naturally have a glass half-full approach to life, while others think in half-empty terms. Many people who have a downbeat view of life may have been influenced by difficult life experiences.
In addition, if your company has been undergoing a rough time, it may be that morale is low, especially if this has manifested itself in tough company decisions such as redundancies or a pay freeze.
However, it is positive thinking that will help drive your business forward, however well or poorly it has performed recently. Here are five ways to get people thinking positively:
1 – Things can only get better
Yes, it may seem corny and the guy on the keyboard really was that scientist on the telly, but this really is the way to deal with things when times have been hard. Gather your staff together and give them a pep talk. Tell them that, yes, things have been hard, but when you are down, the only way is up. Reassure them that meeting the challenge of turning things around will be a great achievement they can all be proud of and they should look to the long term. Make sure, however, that this is backed up with a concrete plan for improvement. When targets are met, these can be highlighted to show how you are progressing.
2 – Encourage curiosity and learning
A great way to get people thinking positively is to offer them training and learning opportunities. This means they can discover more about the business, develop new skills and therefore start to pursue new career goals. It is important, however, that beyond the competencies vital to their role, they are not forced into this; there won’t be much positive sentiment if people feel they are doing something of little relevance to them because it has been imposed from above.
3 – Positive language
It can be really easy to slip into using negative language to talk about work, so managers should make sure the message they are sending out is always an optimistic and positive one. This should help influence how the staff think.
4 – Appreciation
Work can often be hard and heavy, so it can be extremely refreshing for staff to hear how much their efforts are appreciated. Let them know that the good things they do are being noticed and never hesitate to give praise. Equally, be careful not to criticise unless necessary.
Don’t just reward people with warm words, either; provide little rewards for them such as employee of the week awards, or team of the month. Make sure examples of best practice and success are highlighted, so everyone knows that good work is being recognised in the business even if, on this occasion, it is not their own.
5 – Have fun
Finally, what better way to generate a positive mindset than to have some fun and laughter? Offices can be very serious places, but there should always be room for a bit of enjoyment.
This does not mean laughing at someone – that will only create division and victimisation – but laugh with people; be prepared to see the funny side even when something goes wrong – while telling yourself that it will go right next time!
A positive attitude is important for a business, but how can you encourage everyone to think this way?
Image courtesy of iStock/Ridofranz