There’s no shortage of negativity, especially in business. But there are plenty of ways you can spread positive vibes to counter all that bad energy. And thankfully, just as negativity is contagious, positivity is too — leading to increased motivation, better collaboration and higher productivity in your business. Here are five strategies I use that can help you change your mindset and influence the people in your work network to do the same.
1. Pay it forward. Paying it forward is when you receive a good deed and, instead of returning the favor, you pass it on to the next person who may be in need of what you can provide.
Since I have received considerable help from other more experienced businesspeople whose assistance, advice and connections proved invaluable when I was launching my first business, I pay it forward by doing the same for other entrepreneurs and freelancers who are starting out and could use similar guidance. I felt good having someone help me, but I really have enjoyed watching how my assistance has led to others’ success.
2. Practice patience. Stress makes it easy to get flustered or irritable. I have had many high-stress moments like this: When I’m stuck in traffic on the busy roads in and around Silicon Valley, at the airport when I am running to catch a plane or at work with a staff that isn’t getting the job done as fast as I would like. If I lose my patience, I negatively impact others’ perception of me as a leader. I also inadvertently tell my employees that a culture of negativity is acceptable when it’s clearly not.
But by taking a deep breath and counting to 10, I relax quickly and am able to avoid a negative response. This simple exercise not only calms me down, but also relieves stress. A calm demeanor and outlook is infectious, helping to promote a positive culture and message about the company and my own brand.
3. Show appreciation. Don’t take people for granted, especially your employees and customers. I remind myself that I wouldn’t be anywhere without this incredible group I have surrounded myself with. A group that has helped make the company a success. I also focus on the fact that others have chosen to assist me at work when they could have gone elsewhere.
When it comes to people who work with me or do business with my company, I make a conscious effort, verbally or in writing, to regularly use the phrase “thank you.” This spreads positive vibes and serves as a constant reminder to me that I value them and what they do for me. This builds loyalty and stimulates motivation. Others who may see my appreciation posted publicly on a social media site to a customer or staff member I’m recognizing also get a positive lift.
4. Listen and learn. I have many listening ears in the form of my business partners and mentors. Having these active listeners gives me good vibes that I can then use to serve as the same earpiece for others. To do that, I like to make an effort to get to know those I hire or partner with in business beyond just their professional aspirations. Listening to their hopes and dreams, hobbies and family news makes them feel good but it also helps me understand why and how they work the way they do, providing the framework for managing and helping them grow within the company.
5. Pay a compliment. Do you remember the last time when someone complimented you on something that took effort on your part? A well-placed compliment can take someone from a pit of sadness to absolute joy. I look for opportunities to share a compliment when I see an employee who has really delivered something excellent or has presented an innovative idea. I see their eyes light up and a smile appear, which tells me they feel good that someone noticed their efforts, talent, or initiative. In return, I get rewarded with the positive vibe they give off when they received my compliment. Plus, I get the advantage of great work that benefits the organization — a very good reason for any leader to focus on honing these five strategies.