Positive Attitudes Succeed, Negativity Protects | #Leadmorale #PeopleSkills

We constantly hear and read that positive attitudes succeed and negative ones hold people back. Yet the second half of that statement doesn’t touch on why so many people choose negativity over positivity. There’s little or no evidence that these folks consciously want to fall short of their dreams. Moreover, negativity doesn’t seem to make them happy.

Nonetheless, negativity has a powerful draw for people. While positive attitudes succeed (and bring risk), negativity protects. Leaders who want to overcome the negativity in their organization must first understand why and how negativity protects.



Positive Attitudes Succeed Negativity Protects: Image is the phrase I can't with the t crossed off.

Positive Attitudes Succeed; Negativity Protects. Image licensed from 123RF.com

Image licensed from 123RF.com.


Positive Attitudes Succeed But Negativity Protects

Negativity is a shield. Think about it. Negativity puts up barriers that protect people.

  1. Telling yourself you can’t do something gives you permission not to try. It’s a protective fence against failure.

  2. Shooting down other’s ideas all the time protects your own ego from seeing other’s creativity and strength.

  3. Being hyper-negative makes people feel alert and ready so no one can fool you or attack you.

  4. Labeling all optimists as unrealistic dreamers throws up walls to changes that frighten you.

  5. Demanding absolute evidence that a proposed change will work feels like a fool-proof way of stopping change you fear. Absolute evidence never exists so you are protected from what you fear.

  6. Harboring negative feelings from old hurts helps justify not moving on.



  7. Positive attitudes succeed: Image is a quote about forgiveness.

    Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past. ~unknown



  8. Negativity lowers people’s expectations of you and of what is possible. This feels easier and safer than a positive can-do attitude and all the risk and work it brings.


Summary & Key Point for Leaders

You know that positive attitudes succeed. Yet simply telling people to have a more positive attitude does not work. Instead leaders, identify what their negativity protects them from.

  • Have previously leaders lied to them and dashed their hopes? Negativity gets them off the roller coaster.

  • Do you have a culture of blame and they want to avoid being the next target?

  • Are top performers on the team minimizing other team members to the point that the latter stop trying?

  • Have you failed to honor their efforts as well as their successes? If you overlook effort and the lessons learned from mistakes, they stop trying and learning.



Steps Forward So Positive Attitudes Succeed

Children grow up with parents often telling them no in order to protect them. Then as they grow into adulthood, they need to replace negativity with positive attitudes. Help them by replaing the protection they get from negativity with chances to contribute and succeed. And remember to read my book — Leading Morale — for even more ideas on inspiring employees and igniting contributions!

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Leaders, Great Attitude is Essential Not Negotiable
Are These Toxic Ingredients Ruining Your Communication?
What Constant Naysayers Really Do

©2019 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email info@katenasser.com for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.


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