By David Cox | March 3, 2020
Can adopting a positive attitude improve your effectiveness in leading your business?
The benefits of a positive attitude in business
The benefits of a positive attitude include a sense of hope about the future. That feeling of hope leads to confidence in the future success of business endeavors, regardless of the challenging circumstances of the present.
It’s hardly breaking news, but most surveys indicate individuals prefer to work with someone positive rather than negative. Interestingly, a more positive attitude can dramatically improve the decisions we make and the opportunities we pursue. It also affects the people we connect with and the focus on our current mission. Finally, it positively impacts our determination to continue learning, and the improvement of our performance.
A study by psychologist Marcial Losada revealed many potential benefits entrepreneurs could experience with a more positive outlook. For instance, it makes you more curious, more willing to explore, and eager to take the initiative. You’re more open to new ideas, connections with new people, and trying new things.
Additionally, the study showed that a negative attitude limits your experience and holds you back. It puts you in a “leave me alone” mode. Some refer to this mode as a “bunker mentality,” where you’re always on guard and defensive. The study further revealed that a more negative attitude changes your worldview and how you interact with others. It limits your possibilities and undermines your self-esteem.
I recently viewed a series of lectures delivered by Barbara Frederickson, Ph.D. Frederickson is the author of Positivity. She serves as the Kenan Distinguished Professor and Director of Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Frederickson’s research indicates that a positive attitude expands our awareness and “makes our world larger.” She also concluded that to stay on the positive side and maintain this expanded awareness, we need to adopt a positive attitude in three events to every one negative event. Surprisingly, only one in five people surveyed met this 3 to 1 ratio.
Frederickson’s research also indicates that the expanded view produced by a positive attitude has specific implications for entrepreneurs. These include a capacity for more ideas, greater creativity, and improved resilience. Moreover, it embraces a greater willingness to develop a win-win mindset in the face of tension and conflict.
Some negativity keeps an entrepreneur grounded. However, you don’t want to become so discouraged that you lock yourself into an endless loop of negativity. A negative attitude can easily overwhelm you, and this typically happens when you fail to question whether the beliefs driving your negative attitude are valid.
A positive attitude in a world that seems out of control
A positive attitude doesn’t just happen on its own. You need to leave the negative behind, let it go, and proactively do positive, productive things. These things could include completing assignments and projects, developing new business, and solving customer-related problems. They could also include settling a dispute between contractors and helping employees learn how to succeed.
We don’t control very much in this unpredictable world, but at least we can control how we think about what we experience. We’re ultimately in control of whether we choose to approach our daily efforts with a positive attitude or surrender to a more negative mindset. The evidence is compelling: Individuals with positive attitudes are more likely to find new opportunities and be successful – personally and professionally.