I try to go to work with a positive attitude, but then idiots happen…

Who has had a day feeling like this at work?

Does my attitude really matter at work? Absolutely!

Negative attitudes lead to destruction, while positive attitudes lead to construction.

For those of you with children, have you ever made the comment “I can’t believe the attitude coming out of my 3,5,7-year-old etc.”. We have all been there, and if you don’t have children you have seen it.  In the supermarket, at the shopping centre, children having tantrums, stamping their feet, crossing their arms, saying no, raising their voices or just the sarcasm is enough. Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news, I see and have experienced similar behaviours with adults in the workplace. I’m sure you have all experienced it in some form or another.

So what is the impact of these attitudes.  If you think back to the example of managing children, it leaves parents and carers frustrated, annoyed, stressed, unproductive, and probably feeling quite negative.  Now transition this into the workplace, identifying individuals, teams and the overall impact on the organisation.  I would expect a negative, tense and unproductive work environment.

A negative attitude is like a contagious virus; it can spread quicker than you can blink.  The impact can dismantle teamwork, increase stress and cripple productivity.

Negativity is an increasing problem in the workplace, according to Gary S. Topchik, the author of Managing Workplace Negativity. He states, in a Management Review article, that negativity is often the result of a loss of confidence, control or community. Knowing what people are negative about is the first step in solving the problem.

Positive attitude is a result, in part, from employees and workers feeling valued.  One Gallup survey shows employees were more likely to feel valued (and therefore have a positive attitude in the workplace) when they:

  • Know what is expected of them at work
  • Have the materials and equipment to do their work right
  • Have the opportunity to use their strongest skills on a daily basis
  • Are frequently recognized or praised for doing good work
  • Have a supervisor or someone who cares about them as a person
  • Have someone at work that encourages their development
  • Feel their opinion seems to be taken seriously
  • Feel their job is an important part of the company’s mission
  • Have co-workers who are committed to do quality work
  • Have a best friend at work
  • Has had their progress discussed with them in the previous six months
  • Feels they have had opportunities to learn and grow at work.


Positive attitudes in the workplace have many benefits, including:
Improved communications
Better teamwork
Increased morale
Higher productivity

So who is responsible for our attitude?

Firstly, us as individuals, take accountability and control of your views and experiences.  If something is not ok, don’t just get frustrated and negative and allow that to impact your colleagues at work.  Take some accountability and control to identify what is frustrating you, be assertive and communicate your concerns. Remember your attitude does not only affect you, it spreads very quickly.

Organisations can support a positive workplace and reduce the impact of negativity by being aware of any negativity and nipping it in the butt immediately, having open, transparent communication with their teams, encouraging staff to communicate ideas and concerns, acknowledging their work and efforts, supporting them and their professional growth, having and effective Employee Assistance Program in place.

So stay aware of your attitude on a daily basis ladies and gents, and remember the impact your attitude can have on yourself and others.

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