How Can Employees Develop a Positive Attitude?

Five tips to help employees enjoy greater success and attract career opportunities

By David Cox, SPHR, SHRM-SCP | November 07, 2017

Having a positive attitude at work can help you succeed on projects, meet goals, get a promotion, and just generally enjoy your job more. However, many people struggle with this because they’ve developed a habit of negative thinking. The following five tips will help you develop and maintain a more positive attitude at work.

Treat your coworkers with respect

It’s always easier to stay positive at your job if you like the work environment, which includes your coworkers. It’s also easy to get off to a bad start with these folks. However, if you treat your coworkers with respect and do your best to see issues from their point of view, the working relationships will be much less stressful.

Get enough sleep

We’re rarely at our best when we’re tired. Chances are, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, it will be extremely hard to maintain a positive attitude. Do you find it hard to get going in the morning? Does your strength and focus begin to fade by early afternoon? These are both indications that you aren’t getting enough sleep. Some people only need 6-7 hours of sleep per night. Others need 9 or 10 to feel rested. You can’t really “catch up” on lost sleep. Go to bed earlier and get whatever sleep you need to feel more positive at work.

Identify negative thoughts

You might not even realize that you have a negative attitude at work. Start to be more aware of your thoughts, words, and actions. Identify times when you say “no” without good reason. You may believe you can’t do something, doubt your abilities, or feel angry about a task you’ve been given. Think about what would happen if you forced yourself to look at the situation in the opposite way – saying “yes,” believing you can do something, feeling confident in your abilities, or feeling happy to do a task. Even if you can’t change every single negative thought you have, at least start to be aware of these thoughts and consider whether they’re justified.

Work on your overall stress level

Often, our attitudes at work are simply carried over from our experiences at home. If you’re stressed about your marriage or relationship, your kids, your finances, or other problems, it’s difficult to maintain a positive attitude at work. Look at your overall stress level and identify the things in your life that make it hard to have a positive attitude. Reducing your overall stress level can help you start to enjoy your job more.

Set goals

One of the best ways to overcome these feelings of negativity (along with the idea that you’re not doing anything important) is to sit down with your manager and make some realistic, but challenging goals. What do you hope to achieve each month? What new skill would you like to develop over the next three months? What would you like to achieve in the next six months? Review your goals on a regular basis to stay on track for success.

The role of a positive attitude cannot be underestimated in overall career success. It’s too easy to be influenced by the negativity of others on the job. If they want to be negative—great! You will have more influence and enjoy greater respect. Employers are looking for employees with a positive attitude and they want to promote employees with a positive attitude. Regardless of experience and skill level, a positive attitude can and should be a part of your career strategy

David Cox


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