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Janine Milne

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In a Nutshell: Five ways to encourage a positive attitude

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In the current climate, a lot of workers are feeling demotivated and dissatisfied.

As a result, employee engagement activity has never been so important, particularly as there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that it can be linked to improved financial and staff performance.
 
But how can you encourage better engagement within your workforce? According to Will Mitchell, director of consulting at talent management consultancy A&DC, having a positive attitude to life and work can have a huge impact on your – and your employees’ – professional performance – and personal situation.

Here he shares his top tips on how to achieve it:

1. Get into the right mindset to be positive
 
It’s a good idea for everyone to start each day with the right attitude. We often say someone ‘got out of bed the wrong side in the morning’ when they seem negative and critical. Although a given event or occurrence is in and of itself neutral, most people will see it as either good or bad, positive or negative depending on their mindset.
 
If we look at events in a positive way, we are more able to accept that things happen and so we do not blame ourselves or others for it. If we can develop a healthy attitude to ‘controlling the controllables’ during our working day, and in life in general, we are likely to be more resilient if difficult things happen to us.
 
We will not focus on blaming ourselves or others for these tricky situations, but take a more balanced perspective. It also helps if we can understand and develop those factors on which our resilience is based such as self-belief, being able to seek support, adaptability and emotion regulation.
 
A sensible diet, enough sleep and positive lifestyle habits such as not indulging in too much caffeine, alcohol and so on is also sensible.
 
2. Support employees in becoming more positive
 
Helping an employee to develop their resilience levels is fundamental when it comes to managing the natural anxiety and uncertainty that are generated by certain events. This includes accepting that success will not be possible all of the time.

When staff feel that negative thoughts are building up as a result of a disappointment or frustration, it is important for them to realise that they are in a bad emotional place and understand that it will not help them to resolve the problem.

 
But they also require some form of coping mechanism. While this might involve seeking support from others, there are also opportunities for individuals to change the way that they think about problems and obstacles in order to approach them from a more positive perspective.
 
It is likewise a good idea to encourage employees to exercise or use relaxation techniques such as simple breathing exercises in order to help them remain calm and composed when facing difficult challenges.

3. Introduce a mentoring scheme to help staff behave more positively

 
When individuals are engaged in activities that they enjoy and can focus their skills and energies effectively, they tend to be more successful, have lower incidences of stress and experience a greater sense of well-being.
 
However, there are a lot of pressures at work to distract staff from playing to their strengths. Discipline and assertiveness are needed to do so and to encourage them to enlist the help of others in areas where they are less strong.
 
As a result, it can prove beneficial for individuals to work with other team members in reflecting on and evaluating their personal strengths. To help with this, you could introduce a mentoring scheme. After all, no effective sporting star or team would be without a coach today.

4. Encourage workers to record their achievements

It’s important to introduce practical, achievable steps that don’t take too much time in order to help improve employees’ personal and/or professional development. This ranges from assisting them in gaining qualifications to assuming a new role or finding a better work-life balance.
 
Having a direction and purpose helps to keep people focused when times are tough, so that they are able to place difficulties and challenges into the broader context of achieving their goals.

To this end, encourage staff to record achievements and share their goals with others in order to reinforce their commitment. It may be useful for them to keep a personal diary and to write in it for a few minutes each day, noting down any successes or setbacks that they have experienced.

 
Such activity will also help them to see if they have managed to develop a more positive attitude over time.

5. Encourage employees to give something back

 
As human beings, we value the collaboration and support of others – no person is an island. Similarly, we also like to give something back. A lot of people who have shown single-mindedness in getting to the top of their career, vocation or sport, try to put something back in their own professional area.

For instance, we have seen entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates establish a global aid foundation, while the likes of Alan Sugar helps young entrepreneurs to take their first step.

 
It’s important to help staff realise that, not only can they turn to others for support, but they can also help them too. Even new starters can bring fresh ideas to the team and, if employees see that they can give something back, it boosts their own self-esteem.
 
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