One of the simplest ways to relieve stress in your team and help team members feel better about themselves, is to change the way they think about things in their lives. If team members hide behind negative thoughts and allow their environment to make them sad or depressed, they may never have the drive to reach for team goals.
Shifting from “What’s Wrong?” to “What’s Right?”
One of the first things that can ruin a positive attitude is looking at a situation and only noticing the negative aspects, or the “What’s Wrong” side. A pessimistic attitude won’t get anyone very far. When presented with a problem, take a few minutes and look at both sides of the problem. Make a mental list of everything that is positive about the situation before touching on the negative aspects. You’ll find that any situation won’t appear as bad as we think when we notice the positive first.
Keys to shifting the thoughts of your team:
- Avoid the “all or nothing” thinking – deciding a situation only has two sides.
- Realize the difference between being right and being happy.
- Avoid over-generalizing a situation – focus on details.
It’s Not Eliminating Mistakes-It’s Holding up Successes
A common misconception that people make is that being positive or progressive means they cannot make mistakes nor have faults. This, of course, is untrue. Mistakes happen all the time, and although they can sometimes be prevented, they cannot be stopped altogether. They key is for your team to learn from their mistakes and then focus on the successes that follow them.
When a child falls off their bike before learning to ride, we do not focus on how many times they fell, but celebrate when they ride down the sidewalk on their own. Being positive doesn’t mean your team eliminate mistakes or problems, they just learn to focus on the achievements they reach. Success leads to more success when the team is focused on the positive.
Positive Words Encourage Positive Thinking
From a young age we have learned that positive language has more effect on us than negativity. When we tell ourselves “I can’t do that” or “I’ll never finish this”, we normally find ourselves to be right. But if we use more positive and influential phrases and language, we find ourselves feeling more confident and ready to handle any situation. Positive words encourage positive thinking, so encourage your team to add some “I can…” and “I’m great” phrases to their vocabulary! Positivity is contagious, so don’t be afraid to share it with your team and encourage them to think positive too.
Using positive language:
- Avoid negatives, such as “can’t” or “won’t”
- Reassure yourself and remind yourself of your abilities
- Compliment yourself – “Good job” and “Well done”
Limit or Remove Negative Phrasing
As we’ve said before, positive words encourage positive thinking. The same goes for negative phrasing – when we allow ourselves to use negative language, our thoughts become negative. Studies have shown that there are five key phrases that any person should remove from their vocabulary in order to ban negative language.
- Just – This word limits our accomplishments and devalues our skills.
- Try – This word can often give us an excuse to fail. We will ‘try’ to accomplish something, but if we don’t succeed then it’s not our fault. We either do something or we don’t.
- Can’t – This word is often used when a person does not want to take the effort to reach a goal or accomplishment. Replace this word with a mental action plan on how you can act on your goals.
- Impossible – This word is normally used when we are faced with something big and overwhelming. However, anything can seem possible if broken down into smaller, more attainable jobs. Anything can be accomplished when we take things one step at a time.
- Someday – This word can have the same problem as ‘try’ – it sets us up to allow failure. When we plan to reach our goals “someday”, we are giving ourselves permission to procrastinate. Set a timeline for your goals and stick to them.