How Negative Are You?

Attitude 2Are you a negative person? Do you know a person who is negative? As we begin this post let me make one thing perfectly clear: I don’t think there is such a thing as a negative person.

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!


When to Fire Your Boss

Fire Your BossGeez, there were so many possibilities for a title to this post I almost didn’t write it.

I was thinking to go a little more straight to the point and call it “When to Quit Your Job” or maybe just “When to quit” but I decided I needed to have “boss” in the title because the vast majority of people who leave their job don’t really quit their job or even the company, they most often quit their boss.

I used the word “fire” your boss because I wanted to make sure people knew they were in control of their own destiny. At least in most parts of the world you can’t be forced to work somewhere or for someone who you simply can’t stand. You really can fire your boss, or company, at anytime.

It is, however, a question of timing as to when exactly to make this decision. Most people are unhappy in their job. Some are unhappy for an afternoon after a particularly tough morning. Some are unhappy for a longer period of time, weeks or months as they deal with issues at work or perhaps it’s personal issues that they can’t separate from work.

Others are just plain unhappy with their job, it may be the function they perform, it might be a personality conflict with their boss, or the job simply might not be a match for their skill-set.

If you’re in the third group and you’re experiencing any or all of the following “symptoms” then you’ll know it’s likely time to fire your boss.

Broken Promises. If you repeatedly promise yourself you’ll quit, there’s usually an underlying cause. Like any other bad habit, you become so used to broken promises to yourself about quitting that you never actually do it.

The second symptom is continued lack of growth despite your best efforts. If you’ve tried to improve your results and haven’t delivered, your skills, abilities and attitude may not be a match with your role. There are other possible problems here but this much is certain, if you’ve truly given your very best effort and still no one notices, your current job is probably not the job for you.

The last symptom is no jealousy. If you don’t want your bosses’ job, you could have a problem. If at least one of your goals is not advancement to a position higher than your current position, you will likely “coast” your way out the door. Your more motivated peers will simply pass you, likely creating even more discontent in your current job.

If you suffer from these symptoms, and “suffer” is a pretty accurate description of what you’re feeling, then your time is up. You need to more on.

Quitting your job, no matter how much you hate it can be a risky endeavor. So mitigate some of that risk by making sure you’re not running from your current job, make sure you’re running to your next one. You don’t actually have to have a new job before quitting your current one but you should have an idea of what you’re looking for and a plan, a real plan, on how to find it.

Once you quit make sure you walk out the door not run. Don’t damage your integrity by leaving lots of loose ends or by not following the due process of your current employer. As the saying goes “don’t burn bridges that you may need to cross again.”

Don’t allow yourself to dread going to work everyday. YOU control your life, the only way  that’s not true is if you allow someone else to control it for you. If you’re in a poor work situation then change it, it’s your life, it’s your job, it’s your choice.