Negative Attitudes Have Health Consequences

Examples of Negative Attitudes

Experts and their research have proven that people with negative attitudes can have shorter life-spans.  One of the main Change Negative Attitudes to Positivereasons – negative attitudes can produce more stress – and the medical evidence on the health consequences of stress is abundant. Studies from the University College London have also proven that after genetics, positive attitudes are a leading contributor to people surviving life threatening situations.

In support of healthy workplaces and in recognition of #World Cancer Day 2016 #WeCanICan and the positive attitudes of survivors, we share with you some of the more common negative attitudes that exist in the workplace and some of the leading examples of how to break negative attitude cycles to become healthier and potentially increase your life expectancy.

Five Examples of Negative Attitudes

Worst Case Scenario Mindset:  This is talking and thinking only about all the negative that could happen if something goes wrong. This can particularly come into play when change happens, when there are unknowns, and when we do not have all the information or understand something. This is where imagination and worry can also start to happen.

Overgeneralization Mindset: This is talking and thinking about the few mistakes, the few challenges, the few negatives, and letting the “few” outweigh all the positives or good, or missing the positives and good all together. And when referencing “few”, the “few” may be only one: the one mistake, the one challenge, the one negative. This negative mindset can also sometimes get very locked onto the past, and believing whatever happened in the past, will always be the same in the future.

Victim Mindset: This is talking and thinking that we have no choice or control, and that everyone else has the control and influence. This negative mindset can sometimes include thinking that it’s everyone else’s fault, and that everyone else has to improve. This mindset can also be negative about authority, and view actions by leaders and bosses as essentially bad and not in the best interest of themselves and others.

Who Cares Mindset: This negative mindset involves not caring about other people on the team, the company, job expectations, policies and/or procedures. This mindset of ‘who cares’ is the belief, which drives the thinking, talking, and behaviours. This potentially negative mindset of not caring usually results in negative behaviours.

Complainers Mindset: This negative mindset can involve situations where the individual does not approve of someone or something. For example, they may disagree with the way something is done, or they may not like a decision that was made. This potentially negative mindset of disapproval can result in the negative behaviour of complaining.

How to Improve Negative Attitudes?

From our years of experience in teaching team members how to be more effective team players to achieve greater teamwork, here are our top suggestions on how to improve negative attitudes:

  • Highlight the positive.
  • Assess what is going well i.e. the brighter side, the silver lining, the learning, etc.
  • Consider the potential positive outcomes.
  • Determine what is within one’s control.
  • Evaluate whether expectations are realistic.
  • Challenge negative beliefs and check out perceptions by seeking more information from others i.e. the leader, team members, etc.
  • Determine proactive actions that can be taken to minimize the potential negative outcomes.
  • Accept that negative outcomes can and may happen. Establish actions that can be taken to address the negative if it does happen.
  • Broaden perspectives on the negatives i.e. will this matter tomorrow, next week, a month, and/or a year from now?
  • Gain and apply learning from past mistakes to progress forward and increase the chance of future success. Forgiveness may fit here too, as sometimes people are negative because someone’s been human and made a mistake.
  • Ask for help.
  • Address negative comments by rephrasing them to a positive.
  • Increase someone’s awareness by bringing the negative attitude to their attention. Ask the person do they realize that they are negative? They may not realize when they are in the cycle.
  • Ask questions to discover why the person is negative. What is their belief behind the experience? Acknowledge and listen to the person’s story and point of view.
  • Involve the person in the problem solving and solutions to address their negative attitudes.
  • Encourage people to resolve conflict with each other.
  • Offer support if the person is going through a personal situation that may be temporarily impacting their attitude in a negative way.

How to Manage Employees with Negative Attitudes

  • Review expectations.
  • Together, determine the solutions, goals, timelines, next steps, and consequences.
  • Offer additional coaching and training if needed.
  • Provide ongoing feedback. Schedule a follow-up conversation.
  • Progress with performance management if needed.
  • Ensure leaders set the tone from the top.
  • Recruit and hire positive attitudes.

Assessing Negative Attitudes

Consider the following questions:

  1. What are you generally talking positively about?
  2. What might you generally be talking more negatively about?
  3. What are others on your team and/or in your organization generally talking positively about?
  4.  What might others on your team and/or in your organization generally be talking more negatively about?

Based on your answers, what are your mindsets? Are you Worst Case Scenario? Overgeneralization? Victim? Who Cares? Complainers? If so, what suggestions from above on ‘How to Improve Negative Attitudes’ might you be able to implement? I encourage you to act – just pick one point and take action today!  You might believe that you have all the reasons in the world to be negative, but is the cost to your health and life worth it?

We all have choices to make and as part of this, we also all have actions that we can choose to take, and thus influence in our lives and our work. Let’s go out there and create the positive!

This information has been successfully used for years by participants of Hone’s Respect in Action and Team Player Fundamentals training programs.

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