June 6, 2023

How negativity affects your job & your thinking skills

By Kevin Watson

Continuing our theme focussed on helping data professionals hone their thinking skills, this time we address negativity. It can be too easy to focus on techniques and overlook attitude. But I have seen the destructive power of negativity in both staff & clients. It clouds people’s perspective and the quality of their thinking, however clever are their other thinking skills.

So, to build on the advice shared by Ty Francis, I am delighted to welcome back leadership coach Kevin Watson. Kevin is the founder and lead coach at My Own Coach. He also works with leadership teams worldwide as a consultant to help them overcome their challenges & achieve success.

In his previous posts, regular readers will remember that Kevin has addressed topics including presenting, vision, and a career plan. This time, he addresses the damage caused by a negative mindset. He also concludes by sharing 4 ways to become less negative at work. So, if you have ever had feedback about being perceived as negative, this post should help you. Over to Kevin…

Why do we need to think about negativity?

When you have a persistently negative mindset, it’s going to affect every aspect of your life. Your energy impacts those around you. So, if you bring negative energy into the workplace, it’s going to have several repercussions.

Here, you’ll discover how negativity affects your job. You will also see how you can start to eliminate your own negativity in the workplace.

How does negativity impact your job?

There are a lot of ways negativity can impact your job. When you have a negative mindset, it can affect your performance, work relationships, and overall well-being.

The trouble with negativity is that it attracts more negativity. Therefore, if you go to work with a negative attitude, it is going to rub off on your colleagues too. This will lead to a toxic workplace where nobody is happy and stress levels are increased.

As well as impacting the work environment, a negative outlook can also cause issues with performance. You may not apply for new opportunities as they arise, forcing you to miss out on a potentially better job. You will also notice your energy levels aren’t great and the quality of your work will suffer. These are just some of the ways negativity can impact your job. So, how can you fix it?

Four ways to become less negative at work

There are ways you can become a more positive person at work. However, it might take quite a lot of effort to overcome your negative thinking. The best ways to combat negativity at work include:

  1. identify the cause
  2. think of something you are thankful for
  3. talk to your boss
  4. distance yourself from negative colleagues

Let’s explore each of those in turn. As we do, consider which could help you address any negativity.

Identifying the cause

Identifying the cause of your negativity is crucial. There could be numerous reasons why you have a more negative attitude at work. Maybe you keep getting passed over for a promotion, or you are bored with your current role. Identifying the cause enables you to figure out the best ways to combat it.

Practising gratitude

Whenever you feel yourself slumping into a negative mood, think of something you are thankful for. After all, it’s difficult to remain negative when you are thinking of something positive.

Talking with your boss

You may also find it useful to talk to your boss if you haven’t already. If you are unhappy with something, let them know. Ask them for a promotion, rather than waiting for one. You could also ask them for further training opportunities and more responsibility.

Distancing from negative people

If you have colleagues who are negative, make sure you distance yourself from them. It could be that others are putting you in a negative mood, so distancing yourself from them will protect your energy and your positivity. If they see you with a more positive outlook, it will also help them to develop one too.

Getting practical with negativity

As you can see, there are several ways you can address your negativity in the workplace. Identifying the root cause is the key to finding the right solution. If you are just naturally negative, working on developing a more positive mindset will help. However, this will take time so don’t expect results overnight.

Thanks, Kevin, for those wise words. I agree with the importance of addressing this mindset. Left unchecked it can trap otherwise talented people in negative thinking patterns & behaviours which limit them. I have even seen it be the start of a spiral down into depression.

If you are keen to work on this and want to go even deeper than Kevin’s practical advice above, I have a book to recommend as well. Check out my review of “Happier” by Dr Tal Ben-Shahar. It is a short & very practical read. It also includes exercises that I’ve seen help my coaching clients. It should help you work towards choosing to be intentionally happier, which is possible. Have a great week everyone.