Whether you are a new employee just starting a career, or a seasoned office veteran, you have tremendous influence on the professional climate of your work environment. A leader helps set a standard that others tend to emulate. A negative employee can easily bring the rest of the team down, while an inspiring employee’s outlook is contagious.
Here are five ways to set a positive example in the workplace.
- Show appreciation. Look for things in your daily work routine to appreciate. This is perhaps the fastest and most effective way to strengthen your upbeat point of view. There are good things all around you; take the time to notice and appreciate them. It’s easy to get excited about the big events that happen sporadically, like landing a new client, a bonus or a raise, but be sure to look for the smaller things that happen every day that are often overlooked, such as receiving a compliment, or even getting a great parking spot. Get in the habit of saying “thank you” frequently.
- Look for ways to be of service. Strive to be of help to those around you. If you supervise others, learn more about effective management techniques. If you are a junior executive, set goals for yourself and be proactive instead of sitting around waiting for others to tell you what you need to do. Keep a running list of projects on the runway for you to tackle, so when one project wraps up, you are ready to move on to another. Clearly communicate with others before they come to you asking questions.
- Let go of unpleasant behavior. Be mindful of the way you talk, the things you say and your body language. This includes your “default” facial expression and responses to everyday remarks. Sometimes our habits become so ingrained that we don’t even realize we’re doing them. Positive leadership cannot coexist with sarcasm, eye-rolling, cliques or gossip.
- Take responsibility. Nobody’s perfect. But, a good employee knows when things go wrong, there is value in taking an honest look at the situation and owning up to their role in it, determining what went wrong and what they will do to prevent the mistake in the future. Successful people strive to do their best, and use their mistakes as an opportunity to grow. It is also a learning tool for those who they are training or mentoring. Own the mistake without excuses and move ahead.
- Keep an upbeat demeanor. No matter how you really feel about mornings, greet your coworkers with a smile at the start of each workday. Walk with good posture and let your appearance demonstrate that you are happy to be there. Do these things even if you didn’t get enough sleep or if you slogged through the mother of all traffic jams on your way into work. As the old saying goes, “Fake it until you make it.” Keep focusing on your reactions to circumstances, both good and bad, and a positive outlook will become a habit.