I recently learned this fact and I have to say, it’s pretty stunning. Those who voluntarily left their jobs during the Great Resignation of 2021 were ten times more likely to have done so because of a toxic workplace culture than because of compensation.
Leaders often focus on pay as the most important issue for their employees, and when they do that they miss the mark, by a landslide, on what matters most to their people.
Negativity is the fuel for the kind of toxic workplace culture that gets employees running in the wrong direction. The good news is that negativity is a mindset, just like a positive attitude is, and a mindset can, and should, be adjusted!
In my own life, I try to maintain a positive attitude in all that I do, think, and say. I also try to shield myself from negativity as best as possible too. I don’t watch the news, or much TV at all, and if someone tries to bring their negativity my way, I kindly ask them not to. From my firsthand experience, I can tell you it really does matter!
Now, we can’t be delusional and gloss over the immense challenges of the past two years, and life in general; there is such a thing as toxic positivity after all. But there’s still plenty of room to acknowledge the trials and tribulations in life AND still be a positive influence on the people around you.
Burnout and a Positive Attitude
I don’t have to tell you that the healthcare industry is experiencing burnout and attrition among employees at a rate we have never before seen.
In fact, burnout is so prevalent now that the World Health Organization has broadened its definition of burnout to “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” They broke burnout down into three dimensions:
- Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion
- Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job
- Reduced professional efficacy
Look at that second point again: increased feelings of negativism or cynicism about one’s job. So, does that mean people who naturally maintain a more positive attitude might be less prone to burnout? A recent international study of healthcare workers says “yes”!
This study, one of the first of its kind to analyze positive attitude in the context of the pandemic, concluded that there was a negative correlation between optimism, social connectedness, and COVID burnout. People who were able to tap into their strengths of social connectedness and positive attitude showed more resilience in overcoming and managing stress and burnout. And, again, these study participants were healthcare workers, just like you. Just like your team.
How about the benefits of a positive attitude on YOU? According to the Mayo Clinic, the effects of maintaining a positive attitude include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress and pain
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- A reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, respiratory conditions, and even cancer
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
Since the evidence is undoubtable that a positive attitude is worth having, spreading, and cultivating in your team, here’s one quick tip you can use that takes barely any additional time: learn to catch yourself when you use pessimistic or negative language in your conversations and communications, especially in your emails. What are some negative words that you might use regularly, just out of habit? Look back over the emails you have sent recently and see if you are using negative wording without even realizing it.
Words like “overwhelming,” “impossible,” or “never” can set you up with a negative mindset right out of the gate. Think of some more positive ways to frame challenges. Phrases like “one day at a time,” or “step-by-step,” or “stronger together” are much more empowering, even if you use them only in how you talk to yourself.
I’m going to leave you with an adorable little clip (below) to help you visualize how to start the day with a positive attitude.
Christopher Ridenhour GFN, my friend and our newest team member here at Drive, shared this clip with me. And it’s no surprise he did. Chris is one of the most positive, motivating, and inspiring people I know. And that’s why I had to ask him to join our team, and to my terrific glee, he said “YES!” Now you can bring Chris’s infectious spirit and positivity to inspire your audience through a Drive retreat, keynote, or webinar. Click here to learn more about Chris, and if you are interested in having him speak at an upcoming event, click here and set up a free consultation.