NEW YORK — Happy workers mean higher profits. Customers are inspired to buy more when everyone on the job communicates a positive mental attitude.
Saying’s not doing, of course. Just how can you promote good workplace vibes? Management gurus say it’s a two-step process. First, make a decision to develop and maintain your own healthy emotional outlook. Second, inspire this same mental state among your employees.
It all starts with you. “It’s essential to make a conscious decision to have a positive mental attitude,” says Amy Dee-Kristensen, a Mitchell, S.D., consultant. “PMA is not a constant state but a choice you make, a kind of structure upon which you stand. When bad events happen, you may fall off the structure temporarily, but you climb back on.”
A healthy PMA requires mental preparation. “Practice visualizing your success,” suggests Dee-Kristensen, likening the process to a map that guides you to your destination. “As human beings we have the ability to picture goals, then figure out how to reach them.”
Visualization works when you imagine yourself in winning situations. Here’s an example: Suppose you are scheduled to attend a business meeting this afternoon. Before the event, take a few minutes to pause and imagine yourself in a productive group environment.
“Visualize yourself as a successful participant at that meeting,” suggests Dee-Kristensen. Then when you enter the room for the meeting, your visualized image will become a template for your actions. You will interact with other group members in a productive way that enhances your reputation.
Visualization can’t do everything. A business project fizzles. A business plan falls through. And that meeting you were visualizing? A team member threw cold water on one of your pet ideas.
In short, bad things happen. But remember this: While we cannot control many bad events, we can control how we react to them. “Negative emotions arise not from events but from how we respond to events,” says Dee-Kristensen. “And two people may respond very differently.”
She offers as example the statements commonly heard when a tornado rips through town. One man says, “This is the worst thing that ever happened to me; how will I rebuild?” Another says, “It’s been a horrible thing but my family is OK and even our dog was spared.”
In other words, happy people have “glass half full” mentalities. “Think about your thoughts as a red pickup truck pulling a blue trailer that represents the emotions that follow,” suggests Dee-Kristensen. “Now think of a street, the path down which you choose to steer your thoughts.”
Sometimes you choose a street that is not productive. Maybe you are dwelling on what a certain person said at work. In such cases, ask yourself, “Is this thought really working for me?” If not, change your thoughts to other topics.
Check back Thursday for the conclusion!