The Importance of & How to Be More Positive

Positive Attitude is Good for Business

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It might seem like a trivial matter, but attitude in the work place can have a significant impact on productivity. A study by the University of Warwick found that a happy work force can increase productivity by around 12%. This won’t come as any surprise to those working in tech, as companies like Google have been deeply integrating employee satisfaction as a core value for years, with programs like Search Inside Yourself developed to instil mindfulness in managers.
But it’s easy to get caught up in the work sometimes, and that can be stressful. Clients with high expectations and a great deal of uncertainty, both in terms of search engines and user behaviour make the day to day seem like a series of unexpected, time sensitive challenges. But how you deal with these stresses can have a great impact on both yourself and your colleagues. I’m lucky enough to work with some very positive people, but am frequently guilty of being less than positive myself. To coin an Australian term, I’m a bit of a whinging Pom. With that in mind, I’ve decided to have a week of positivity and I’d like to invite you to join me.
More than just being good for businesses, a dose of realistic optimism could improve your ability to work through tough or stressful times. Additionally, as marketers, we should be especially interested in a powerful effect that positive emotion has on sharing. Studies have found that content which instils a positive emotions in the consumer is more likely to be shared.

How to be More Positive

So what does being positive mean and how can you focus on it this week? We’ll first off, I’m not planning to sit at my desk, manically grinning at the screen ignoring any problems that come my way. Some actionable ways to increase your positivity at work might include:

Plan Ahead

Having a clear idea of what needs to be done and setting SMART goals can help you be more productive, by reducing distractions and increasing focus. It can also give you an increased sense of satisfaction when you get to the end of the day and you’ve managed to finish everything you set out to achieve.
Free tools like Trello, or my personal favourite, Kanban Flow, can help make planning, scheduling and delegating tasks much easier.

Don’t Dwell on Problems

Excessively dwelling on problems is a short step to anxiety.
Ask yourself:

  • Is the problem something you’re currently facing, or a “what if”?
  • If the problem is a “what if”, how likely is it to happen. Is the concern realistic?
  • Can you do something about the problem, or is it out of your control?

If the problem isn’t immediate or realistic, try to keep your time dealing with it to a specified timeframe. Put in place plans to deal with problems, but don’t let them stop you getting on with other things.
It’s also important to have a cut off point. Whether this be when you leave work, or a certain time in the evening after which you stop checking emails.

Stop Complaining

Acknowledge problems and deal with them professionally. Avoid getting caught in the trap of regularly complaining to/with colleagues about things you can’t change. In the work place, problems are solved by proactive people, not those that simply complain. See what you can do to help fix problems and deal with colleagues professionally and courteously.
If you’re a manager, consider having regular input from you team on a range of issues. Giving them the chance to air concerns and for you to address them where possible.

Accentuate the positive

Work often focuses on finding and solving problems. This tends to create an observer bias, where you more often notice the negative in your day to day.
Take some time as an individual at the end of the day, and as team once a week to review each other’s achievements whether that be client’s results or simply getting through you tasks lists. Remember to celebrate your achievements as well as collaborating on your challenges.

Lend a hand

We all have our areas of expertise. When we work as silos we restrict ourselves to our own knowledge and fail to leverage the skills of our whole team and reduce the value of the work we do.
Setup mechanisms such as group chat on Skype, monthly regular meetings and enjoy some social activities together, to increase communication between team members that will encourage sharing of information and support when you have a heavy workload.

Do Something Interesting

Taking on some interesting projects for your company could provide you with some more stimulating activity that you can turn to when you have some time. Some examples might include:

      • Write a blog post
      • Help redesign something
      • Look at areas for improvement and put together a strategy
      • Look at creating a tool or resource
      • Write up a guide or build a template for junior colleagues

What you do is up to what interests you, but remember not to over commit yourself.

Be Appreciative

Being appreciative, both of what you have, and what other people do for you, makes you a much more pleasant person to be around and increases the likelihood people will go out of their way to help you.

  • Thank colleagues for their hard work
  • Compliment them on a job well done
  • Remember to take a breath when you’re frustrated and take the time to explain how things can be done better next time

Whilst these are undeniably soft skills, taking the time to work on these with yourself and your team could go some way towards reducing your own stress levels and improving the atmosphere in the work place.

The Game

Want to take part? This week I will be keeping a visible tally of each time I break my own rules. At the end of the week I will donate a dollar for each tally mark to Beyond Blue. If you want to take part, feel free to make a donation to a similar charity in your part of the world.

Dan Petrovic, the managing director of DEJAN, is Australia’s best-known name in the field of search engine optimisation. Dan is a web author, innovator and a highly regarded search industry event speaker.

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