Positive colleagues smiling at work

How a Positive Attitude Can Impact Your Career Momentum

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Give your career a competitive edge during the challenging days ahead  

David Cox | January 18, 2021

The question of a positive attitude

A positive attitude at work refers to an overall outlook, characterized by confidence in one’s job performance and the determination to fulfill essential responsibilities, regardless of any challenging circumstances.

Is a positive attitude part of your strategy for keeping your career on track? I assure you that it is essential to your career objectives.

Challenges that threaten career progress

Millions of individuals continue to face challenges due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. You may feel this impact, whether making adjustments to retain your job or struggling in a competitive environment as you search for another position.

The pandemic is now in its tenth month. The challenges within the U.S. economy alone are substantial, with record numbers of job losses and business closures. In fact, there are approximately 9.8 million fewer jobs in the U.S. than we had pre-pandemic (February 2020).

Consequently, you may have to work twice as hard, with a smaller staff, to keep your job. On the other hand, if you are unemployed, you will undoubtedly face more competition for fewer available openings.

The practical value of a positive attitude on your career

I feel there are many practical values associated with demonstrating a positive attitude, whether at work or preparing for a job interview. The following points are worthy of consideration.

  1. A positive attitude is a plus in the workplace. It helps boost morale, supports cooperation, and improves customer/client outcomes.
  2. It should come as no surprise that most surveys indicate individuals prefer to work with someone positive rather than negative.
  3. Studies also show that a more positive attitude can dramatically improve the decisions made, the opportunities available, the number of people who choose to connect, the focus on job-related tasks, the determination to continue learning, and the drive to improve performance.

More benefits of a positive attitude

A study by psychologist Marcial Losada revealed many potential benefits one experiences with a more positive attitude.

For instance, he found that those demonstrating a positive attitude appear more curious, more willing to explore, and eager to take the initiative. What’s more, they seem more open to new ideas, willing to make new connections, and ready to try new things.

Additionally, Losada’s study showed that a negative attitude limits your experience and holds you back.  It puts you in a “leave me alone” mode, sometimes referred to as a “bunker mentality,” where you seem guarded and defensive.

What can I do if I feel “stuck” in my current job?

One impact of a COVID economy is that you may find it necessary to accept a position you wouldn’t otherwise take, or continue in a job you don’t particularly enjoy. If so, developing a positive attitude at work may be the least expensive and most effective adjustment you can make.

Obviously, a positive attitude doesn’t just happen on its own. You have to do positive, productive things proactively.

For example, complete assignments and projects on time, find ways to develop new business, solve customer-related problems, enthusiastically support management decisions, work to settle disputes between contractors, and help other employees learn how to succeed.

A positive attitude is a smart choice

I remember the words of former American college and professional football coach Lou Holtz, who often told his players: “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you’ll do it.”

So much in our lives is unpredictable. The global pandemic reminds us of that every day.  Regardless, we control whether we choose a positive attitude or surrender to a more negative mindset.

The evidence is compelling:  Individuals with positive attitudes are more likely to advance, find new opportunities, and be successful – personally and professionally. In other words, it’s a smart choice.

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About the Author: David Cox

David Cox is a Co-owner of TPB Business Copyediting. He writes to encourage us to apply our multidisciplinary training and experiences to develop our current career role further.