Being ‘Positive’ Influences Your Career

During a radio segment on Seattle sports talk radio, the two hosts were asked about the Seattle Seahawks and all the talented, big name players the team had let go or traded. It’s a long list, and Seattle has now drafted and traded for new talent this season because of it.

Attitude, especially a positive attitude, can be the difference maker. The radio segment

Positive Attitude Influences Career

Seattle Seahawks win with a positive attitude!

focused on how the big name players became distractions – both on and off the field, and how their attitude had a negative impact throughout the team, the locker room and the Seahawks’ culture.

One of the hosts even called out business owners, executive coaches and consultants who teach this stuff. My ears immediately perked up!

Why It Matters

That old saying “One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch” turns out to be true. Negativity spreads faster than being positive. It comes down to the way our brains are wired and we’re more attuned to our survival. That old ‘fight or flight’ reflex kicks in, and if someone is spreading a negative attitude or malicious gossip or disrespecting others on the team, it can be human nature to pay more attention to it than when someone is kind, positive or expresses gratitude. People have a tendency to ‘pile on,’ and it spreads like a bad virus.

People at the top have to ‘walk the talk.’

The hosts used ESPN as an example. Leadership had told the sports anchors to ‘talk less’ when broadcasting football games. But the top guys – the big name sportscasters –  figured it didn’t apply to them. So they kept talking, there was no reprimand from the leaders, they kept their jobs and morale started to sag. Others see the top guys as ‘not following the rules’ or see them getting special treatment, and the culture begins to shift.

Leadership loses its edge if it doesn’t back up the request that was made or require the necessary changes in behavior. It’s up to leaders to decide at what point do the ‘positives’ outweigh the negative behavior, and when to do something about it.

Retain the culture you want, not the one dominated by the malcontents.

Be intentional about the kind of culture you create.

If you want people to compete for each position, let them know and create a culture based on the premise that the best person gets to play. That’s definitely the Pete Carroll way. If you want innovation, encourage people to try new things. Failure will be inevitable but if employees know it’s okay to occasionally fail, they’ll innovate. Want clear communication? Model it. Let people know what the mission is, why it matters and what the plan is to achieve it.

Why a Positive Attitude Wins

Positivity means believing you can do it. It improves performance. Psychologist Martin Seligman has studied the connection between positivity and performance. In one study, he looked at insurance salespeople and their success. He measured the degree to which they were optimistic or pessimistic about their work. Optimistic salespeople sold 37 percent more policies than pessimists. In fact, the pessimist were twice as likely to leave the company during their first year of employment.

Being positive doesn’t mean you’re looking at the world through ‘rose-colored’ glasses, dismissing challenges or being a push-over. It does mean you believe in yourself (and your team) and that you can accomplish your goals. Lacking a positive attitude can mean you’re sent packing.A positive attitude will bring you more success, fewer negative thoughts, and better health. I don’t see much downside in that. Do you?

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Mike Barer
4 years ago

Well said, Margo!

Margo Myers Communications
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