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Attitudes Are Like Viruses … Is Yours Worth Catching?

January 12, 2019

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Flu season is in full swing. We do everything we can to protect ourselves from those contagious viruses because we all know how miserable it is to be sick. But there is another type of virus spreading through many workplaces that is just as contagious and cannot be cured with medicine or rest, it’s called a bad attitude, and it is running rampant.

Most of us have come into contact with co-workers who frustrate us with their nasty behavior. I call them “barometer people.” Their moods fluctuate throughout the day and most often hover around the negative levels. They criticize the company, co-workers, and even customers. They are quick to find fault with others and play the blame game when things go wrong. Their attitudes damage morale and create stress for their co-workers who often have to guess the “mood of the day or hour” to determine whether or not they are even approachable.

No matter how good you are at your job, if you have a negative attitude, you will not be respected. In fact, co-workers may go out of their way to sabotage your success by failing to meet deadlines, providing incomplete or inaccurate work, and delaying responses to your communications. Attitudes have the capacity to fuel or drain the motivation of those around you, so choosing them carefully is a wise move. They can also either enhance or seriously damage your professional and personal credibility. That’s why it is so important to look in the mirror and ask yourself, “Is there anything about my attitude that I could change so I can have a positive effect on the people around me?”

5 Simple Ways to Keep a Positive Attitude at Work

1. Surround yourself with positive people.

You can’t always choose your co-workers but you can be cautious about how much time you spend with them. Avoid lunchroom drama and don’t let yourself get pulled into gossip.

2. Make a commitment to be kind to other people.

Before you leave for work each day, make a commitment to be nice to everyone at work, even those individuals who do not reciprocate. Making this a regular part of your routine will create a cycle of generosity that makes you feel good and increases your energy.

3. Remember that no one else is responsible for your happiness.

No one owes you anything. Life’s not fair. Believing anything else sets you up to be in a constant state of blame, victimhood, anger, and frustration, all of which leads to a permanent state of negativity.

4. Know that you cannot change another person’s attitude.

If you have a negative co-worker, it is not up to you to change their behavior. That’s their responsibility. But, you can change the way you choose to respond to their attitude and behaviors. Make a decision not to “own” their negativity and walk away from them in a professional manner if they are rude or difficult.

5. Avoid complaining.

Rather than talking about all the problems at work, focus your energy on exploring solutions with your co-workers. This helps to keep the focus on what’s possible instead of what’s wrong.

Your positive attitude will be a great reflection on you and will help to spread a healthy virus through your workplace. Who knows, maybe others will catch it!

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