Yes, I know many, many people will disagree with that. Let’s see if I can change some minds.
Think about it, for a person to truly be negative they virtually have to wake up, stretch and say to themselves, “I’m hoping today really sucks and if it doesn’t I’ll do whatever I can to make it suck.” They would almost have to want their day to be full of problems and mishaps.
It doesn’t make sense for a person to be negative. I think people wake up hoping for a good day, wishing for “things” to go well and then stuff happens. They spill their coffee, traffic is horrible on the way to work, they realize they are wearing one black sock and one blue one. Then they react negatively to that. Then they interact with you. Then you think they are negative.
These seemingly negative people are just like you except they have, at least momentarily, lost control of their attitude. Sometimes these people lose control of their attitude often and easily. Those are the people we think of as negative.
They really aren’t, they just do a poor job of controlling the attitude.
Now, here’s some hard truth: If you’re one of those people who can’t, or won’t, control your attitude then you will be thought of as negative. People will whisper about you behind your back. They will more carefully measure everything you say. Your credibility will be called into question because of your attitude.
You don’t get a vote in this. You can say you’re a positive person until the cows come home but if enough people think of you as negative, then YOU are doing something to cause it.
You need to have a serious, honest conversation with the person who stares back at you from the mirror each morning and decide that YOU will do whatever it takes to keep your attitude under your control. You must make the decision that you will not let things or people outside of your control rob you of one of the greatest assets a person can have: a positive attitude.
It’s your attitude and if you don’t control it you will be perceived as negative. Whether you believe you’re negative or not.
Now, a word to the leaders who are reading this.
If you have a member of your organization or team that you have classified as negative then you may well have some work to do. At minimum you should have a conversation with the person you believe is negative to determine if you can help them control their attitude. Telling them to change it is not coaching, asking them how you can help is.
You may also want to take a look at yourself. You are the “model” for your organization’s behavior. If you behave negatively or say negative things, then it’s a good bet your people will too. When you criticize people for doing what you do it frustrates them.
Frustrated people usually struggle to maintain control of their attitude.
Authentic leaders don’t merely dismiss a person as negative. They invest their leadership skills to determine if and how they might help. They have compassion for the person because they know that no one wants to be perceived as negative.
Are you a strong enough leader to coach a person to positivity? If you are then you’re an authentic leader indeed!