4 Steps to Overturn Negativity

Overturn-NegativityIs there a problem in your organization with negativity?

I think we all can agree: a leader with a negative mindset is toxic to organizations. In their view, efforts are rarely good enough, things just don’t ever seem to go right, plans will likely fail, people are unreliable, and/or problems are beyond fixing.

If you work with or report to someone like this, or, more importantly, if you are known for being a person like this, there is a way to address it.

Negative thinking, sometimes seen as pessimism, can be a pervasive handicap, not only for a leader, but also for everyone down the line. Organizations with a negative attitude at the top will end up in ruin, according to John Maxwell, author of the book entitled, Attitude 101: What Every Leader Needs To Know (2003, Thomas Nelson).

Negative and positive thoughts have a way of fulfilling themselves, since our beliefs, hopes, fears, plans, responses, and abilities are shaped by how we think. Of all people, it’s the leader whose mindset has the greatest impact, making this the most critical area to be addressed, for the benefit of all.

Negativity Impacts Everyone

Negative thinking is generally caused by anxieties, which in turn have their roots in emotionally damaging experiences, either in childhood or adulthood. Continual disappointments, stresses, or pain tend to lead to a negative mentality over time, and this would be tough enough if only one person were affected.

But the greatest tragedy of a leader’s negativity is that it affects everything and everyone. Attitudes spread quickly, often leaving no trace of a source. They go unnoticed, as a subtle, silent killer.

I have seen teamwork destroyed by negativity; it causes people to dislike each other, find fault with each other and resist each other. Performance and progress are inevitably slashed. Productivity, quality and delivery follow a similar demise. Turnover and burnout are inevitable.

In short, bad thinking generates more bad thinking and bad responses lead to more bad responses. If it isn’t dealt with in a timely manner, the cliff can’t be avoided.

What do you think? Is there a problem in your organization with negativity? Have you, or someone you know, overcome negative thinking or pessimism? I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call, 704-827-4474. Or, you can reach me here and on LinkedIn.

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