Make Optimism Contagious, Not Yawns!

Being optimistic is an age-old approach to daily life, but it’s also relevant at work. How is optimism viewed within your organization? In a recent article from Marshall Goldsmith, author of Mojo and 30 other books, harnessing workplace optimism can be difficult.

Optimism in life and work go hand-in-hand. Utilizing your employees’ optimism may be difficult due to varying personalities and work styles. However, honing in on this power will instill greater value for your organization and your employees. It’s well documented in psychology that optimism is more one-sided than you might believe. People often believe that they have better chances for promotions or positive outcomes than they would predict for others. This is referred to as an optimism bias.

Optimism bias inflates our self-confidence. It’s the reason 90 percent of drivers think they’re above average behind the wheel of a car. It’s why almost all newlyweds believe there is a zero chance their marriage will end in divorce. It’s the reason new restaurants in big cities continue to open. Successful people also tend to be optimists.

It isn’t all as bad as it sounds. This sense of optimism creates opportunity. Without it, people would never take the plunge … be it marriage or opening a new restaurant. Taking these risks is necessary! However, optimism takes a turn when you stop looking at yourself and look at others.

When you start to look for high positivity in your employees, you have to take personal optimism out of the equation. This often turns people into cynical skeptics. This is also happening among your employee pool. When one presents an idea, others will naturally respond with envy and competitiveness. Your job is to show them that positivity involves parties outside of themselves, to better the organization – not just their personal agendas.

Part of it is the difficulty in being optimistic about someone else’s abilities where we have no control over the outcome. But much of it is simply our failure to be generous in extending our optimism to others.

While optimism leads one to think that their ideas are better than the next, it also means that your employees will initially see all the flaws in a co-worker’s ideas. Instead of harboring such attitudes, show your employees how to extend their personal optimism to include acceptance of their co-workers’ ideas too. Here’s where positivity in the workplace can become contagious. Instead of sharing yawns, share enthusiasm in your workplace this holiday season. To read more about how optimism spreads throughout a workforce, click here to read the full article.

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