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Last updated: 17.01.22

How to Demonstrate a Positive Attitude at Work

Plenty of skills are a valuable asset in all kinds of workplaces, and a positive attitude is appreciated by both employers and other employees. It may seem simple, but intentional positivity can make a huge difference to all aspects of your life, particularly when you work on demonstrating this attitude in the workplace.

From making the effort to get to know your colleagues to always having a can-do attitude in the face of a challenge, a positive outlook can be shown in a variety of ways. In this article, we offer actionable advice for those who want to find out more about how to be positive at work, as well as explaining the benefits.

What is a Positive Attitude?

A positive attitude is a state of mind that focuses on, anticipates and envisions positive results. It helps you to see the good in every situation and come out of bad experiences focusing on what you have learnt and what you have gained, instead of dwelling on negativity.

If someone has a positive attitude, they tend to be cheerful, optimistic and very resilient. They will always have something good or encouraging to say about a situation, motivate the other people around them, and find happiness and contentment in all aspects of their lives.

In the workplace, someone with a positive working attitude will bring an optimistic, can-do approach to all of their tasks and responsibilities. They will motivate the people around them to do their best and help to move projects forwards when setbacks occur or challenges are faced.

Why is a Positive Attitude Important in the Workplace?

A positive attitude in the workplace is important because it benefits both the individual with the attitude and their working environment.

On an individual level, a positive working attitude means that you’ll be able to handle any professional challenges with optimism and practicality. People with positive mindsets tend to be less stressed at work because they view setbacks as opportunities to learn and develop, as well as being able to find something useful in any negative feedback they receive.

When people have a positive attitude at work, their coworkers benefit from being around someone who brings optimism and practical problem-solving to all kinds of scenarios. People who are positive at work tend to be more productive, and having one team member who works particularly efficiently often motivates the others around them to up their game.

A positive attitude is also important to have in the workplace because it’s very useful when challenges arise and other team members may get bogged down worrying or feeling overwhelmed, as positive thinkers are better at problem-solving and motivating others to move forward. Someone who is enthusiastic about their work and seeks out opportunities to learn more is also likely to help others with new skills acquisition, meaning that your overall workforce becomes more skilful.

How to Demonstrate a Positive Attitude in the Workplace

Cultivating a positive attitude is one thing, but actively demonstrating it is another. It may take a little more effort, but expressing positivity will improve how people see you in the workplace and make practising it all the time easier.

Below are eleven of the best ways to demonstrate a positive attitude at work.

Avoid Negativity and Criticism

If you want to maintain a positive attitude and demeanour, one of the best things you can do is avoid any negativity at work. Some people are naturally more negative and tend to bring this pessimism or stress with them to the workplace, which can drag you down if you are exposed to it all the time.

It’s also a good idea to stay away from gossip or criticism of colleagues in the workplace if you want to demonstrate a positive attitude. Whilst some people see it as a way to find common ground with the people they work with, criticising others and focusing on their flaws or failings will make it harder to maintain a feeling of positivity, as well as having the potential to upset those you are talking about.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is getting a lot of attention at the moment as being one of the best ways to cultivate positivity and improve your overall outlook. This can be done in both your personal and professional life, and can be particularly useful to do when you are at work if you want to maintain a positive outlook on what you are doing and lift other people up as well.

Practising gratitude involves mindfully and regularly taking note of the things that you are grateful for in your life. They don’t have to be big or meaningful, but taking time to appreciate the positive aspects of your life and work will make demonstrating a generally positive attitude much easier.

Set and Achieve Goals

Positive people are also productive, so one of the best ways to show positivity in the workplace is by regularly setting yourself goals that you can realistically work towards.

Not only will frequent success make you happier and add to your positive outlook, but it is also easier to feel positive if you know that you are working towards something that is going to bring a benefit to your life. Setting and achieving goals at work will also likely gain you praise from the people you work with, which again will contribute to overall feelings of positivity and satisfaction. 

Make Friends with your Colleagues

Many people feel that it is important to set personal boundaries at work, and there’s no problem with that. However, maintaining a professional distance from your colleagues doesn’t mean that you have to avoid having a friendship with them, and a great way to bring a positive attitude to work is by having good relationships with the people you spend time with every day.

Making friends with your colleagues just means taking the time out to talk to them about things unrelated to work, asking how they are and learning things about them so that you have a fuller picture of who they are outside of their role. You don’t have to start hanging out with your coworkers in your free time, but liking and being liked by people in your workplace will make you happier when you are there, which will help in maintaining a positive working attitude.

Give Yourself Breaks

Burnout is one of the biggest killers of positivity. If you want to have the energy to consistently demonstrate a positive attitude at work, it is really important to give yourself breaks to properly rest and recharge.

Make sure that you are properly switching off at the end of each working day to give your brain a proper break from what you are doing, whether you use this time to pursue hobbies or to relax and unwind. You should also give yourself breaks during the working day to remain productive and ensure that you’re able to give your best in the workplace and remain efficient when it matters.

By taking breaks, you ensure that you have enough energy to demonstrate a positive attitude when you’re at work, along with avoiding feeling stressed and drained.

Consciously Focus on the Positives

The key to a positive attitude is focusing on the positive of every situation. It might seem like an obvious tactic, but it takes effort to consistently take note of the good things about a situation and ensure that your reaction is always one of appreciation or enthusiasm.

At work, you can use this to demonstrate positivity by pointing out when people have done well, offered help or overcome a challenge. You can also make an effort to find the positives in difficult situations, such as seeing negative feedback as an opportunity for improvement or a setback in a project as a chance to try something new.

Prioritise your Wellbeing

Having a positive attitude takes effort and energy. Very few people are naturally wired to feel positive all the time, so if you want to give yourself the best chance of consistently showing a positive working attitude, you need to prioritise your wellbeing to ensure that you don’t wear yourself out.

It’s also a lot easier to feel positive if you are happy and both physically and emotionally healthy. You can improve your general wellbeing by ensuring you get enough sleep, fresh air, social interaction, healthy food and exercise, and in turn, all of this will give you the energy to practice positivity and improve your overall mood.

Show Kindness

A big part of demonstrating positive behaviour is being happy to help others when they need it. You should want to bring positivity to everyone around you, and showing kindness is one of the best ways to do this.

Kindness in the workplace can be as simple as fetching someone a coffee when you can see they are busy or tired, taking on simple tasks to free up someone else’s time, and offering help and support where needed. This will make you more liked by the people you work with, which in turn will improve your experience at work.

Stay Organised

Positive people tend to be better at their jobs, and a key reason for this is that they are very organised. When you feel happy and accomplished it is much easier to stay on top of things and work productively, and equally, making sure that you plan your time, make note of tasks and consistently meet deadlines will reduce stress and mean you get a lot more satisfaction out of your job.

Pursue Outside Interests

Positive people tend to really enjoy their jobs, but they also get a lot of happiness from other areas of their lives. If you have hobbies that you really enjoy you’ll be more satisfied and engaged with your life overall, which in turn will make it easier to bring a positive attitude to work.

Having outside interests can also make you a more talented and valuable employee, as you may gain additional skills that can be useful at work or learn about things that come in useful in certain projects.

Smile

Finally, one of the easiest ways to demonstrate a positive attitude at work is to show that you feel positive! Smiling, having relaxed and open body language, and ensuring that you project an image of positivity will all ensure that the people you work with think of you as someone who is enthusiastic and energised, as well as helping to lift your mood if you’re struggling a little.

FAQs

What are the characteristics of a healthy positive attitude?

A positive attitude can be characterised by a variety of different things, but one of the most significant is optimism, cheerfulness and resilience. The ability to look on the bright side and bounce back from setbacks or negative situations is the foundation of positivity in the workplace and in other areas of life, and those three traits are the biggest signifiers of this.

How can I change my attitude from negative to positive?

Changing your attitude from negative to positive can be very simple in the moment, and with time can also easily be done to improve your overall outlook on life. The easiest way to do this is to focus on the good things about a situation instead of the bad to try and see the benefits and recognise where you will develop from here, cultivating optimism and genuine happiness in all kinds of scenarios until your brain automatically looks for the positives every time.

What are the benefits of having a positive attitude?

There are plenty of benefits to having a positive attitude both in the workplace and in your personal life, the biggest of which is that it makes you much happier overall. If you are always focusing on the good things and finding benefits no matter what happens, you’ll be more satisfied with life and find everything you do much more enjoyable.

In a professional context, having a positive attitude will make you a better person to work with and mean that you get more enjoyment out of your job, which will likely lead to greater success in your chosen career path.

Summary

Everyone can benefit from bringing more positivity into their lives, and if you want to make a difference to both how you’re perceived at work and how you feel about your job, working on cultivating positivity is one of the best ways forward. It won’t come overnight and will feel particularly hard at points, but the more you practice the easier it gets and the more benefits you will reap from your efforts.

For more information and advice on the effectiveness of a positive attitude at work, take a look at our ‘Positive Attitudes and Behaviours’ online course, suitable for any professional who wants to make a difference in how they’re perceived by employers.

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