C-Suite Network™

Shift Your Focus to the Positive

“The negativity around here is wearing me down.”

If you have ever said those words to a colleague, I have some tough-but-loving advise to offer you today . . .

If the negativity is getting to you, it is up to you to do something about it. You… and no one else.

You don’t have the time, you say? You are not negative other people are, you say? Well that could be true. But unless you do something to turn the problem around, you are part of the roadblock.

Here are two simple, time-efficient steps you can do today to transform your organization into a much more positive place to work.

Use the Power of Five-to-One

I recommend telling people five positive things for every comment that could possibly be interpreted as negative – so in effect, you are operating on a ratio of 5 to 1 in positive versus ambiguous or less-than-positive communications. This practice will transform your leadership on the job, and it will produce surprising transformations in the way you interact with your family members, friends – in fact, everyone around you.

Why? Because too many of us don’t spend enough time giving positive feedback. Some of us say nothing at all until they need to comment or correct something that we think someone is doing wrong. Over time, this negative pattern causes others to feel unappreciated and so defensive that when you approach them, they know that you are unhappy with them. Is that good leadership? Is it a good way to interact with the people you love?

In contrast, be on the lookout for good things and call attention to them in positive ways. Concentrate not on perfection, but on the progress and hard work that you see in other people. If you apply this philosophy consistently, everyone around you will be happier, more motivated and less distracted by worry. Please try it and again, let me know how it has helped you.

Express Appreciation Every Day

Expressing appreciation seems like a small thing to do. But just like using the Three Things philosophy, it exerts a surprisingly profound force on everyone around you. You can express appreciation to members of your family, to people who work for the same charities and organizations that you do – and to people you meet everywhere and anywhere as you go about your life.

If the babysitter you hired to watch your kids one night did an especially caring and capable job of it, mention how much you appreciate that. And then go on to do the same, by expressing appreciation for the gas station attendant who washes your windshield, to the waitperson who did an exceptional job attending to your family at a restaurant, to the woman who holds the door of the ATM to make life a little more pleasant for you instead of letting it close in your face.

Every time you express appreciation, you are creating a more positive world, both for you and for everyone around you.

Embrace the Fact that Other People Often Have Ideas that Are As Good As Yours . . . and Possibly Better

Learn to suspend judgment in interactions with other people, by letting go and allowing them to surprise you by doing things the way they want to. We have already explored this leadership book in this book. I am here to tell you, it can produce transformational results in your family and personal life.

Here is a small experiment for you to try. If you have a child, for example, try to see everything you say and do through his or her eyes. You son just came to you with a suggestion for a summer program he would like to participate in, for example, or your daughter wants to go on vacation with her best friend’s family. If you were your son or daughter and expressed desires like those, how would you feel if your idea gets summarily shot down by Mom or Dad?

Accept the idea that the people around you are just as smart as you are, and sometimes smarter. You are not the person who gives final permission for everything. Do bear in mind, of course, that part of being an effective parent sometimes means failing to give permission. Does you daughter want to go swimming with sharks, for example, or travel to a dangerous part of the world. Or does you son suddenly announce that he wants to drop out of college a few months before he is due to graduate? Remember that you don’t have to approve everything. As you do in your professional life, it is a matter of exercising positive leadership. But before you deny permission, take a little time to ask “why?” so you can determine what the real issues are. Then facilitate decision making in a positive and Ingaged way.

About Evan Hackel

Evan Hackel is a 35-year franchising veteran as both a franchisor and franchisee. He is CEO of Tortal Training, a leading training development company, and principal of Ingage Consulting. He is a speaker, hosts “Training Unleashed,” a podcast covering training for business, and author of Ingaging Leadership. To hire Evan as a speaker, visit evanspeaksfranchising.comFollow @ehackel or call 704-452-7368. Why not have Evan Hackel address your group about franchising success?


Evan Hackel

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