Thursday, August 04, 2011

Stopping the spread of negativity...

Will this comment help our company?
Will this comment help our customers?
Will this comment help the person I’m talking to?
Will this comment help the person I’m talking about?
If the answer is no, no, no and no, don’t say it!
-Turning a Negative into a Positive by Marshall Goldsmith
I came across this article and I feel it is very relevant, especially during this time of change in many organisations. The first thing you notice in any organisation that is going through change is complaints and whining of the staff.

I can see first-hand how all the corridor conversations are poisoning the atmosphere as we’re also going through some re-organisations. The negative atmosphere spreads like a cancer effecting all the healthy cells or in this case the optimistic motivated people in the organisation. We have some amazing people who are intrinsically motivated and love what they do, especially as they know they are working for a greater good, but since of late the motivation seems to have drastically declined. While it is important that Senior Management communicate everything transparently and manage change in such a way that the effect on staff is minimised, I think we’re also responsible for our own attitude and actions. After all they are all human and trying their best too. Of course if you have constructive criticism it’s important to share it with the decision makers, and it’s the responsibility of the leaders to listen to the concerns of staff, but just whining and complaining only robs that person and others around of energy and has no positive impact.

Of course I know that this is much easier said than done, so I am also telling this to myself. I’m happy to say today I managed to avoid any such conversations which would end up with me feeling even more stressed and no positive result. How long will I be able to continue to not complain? That I do not know, ofcourse after reading the article above ‘Turning a Negative into a Positive', its heartening to know that even famous writers such as Marshaell Goldsmith are not immuned to destructive comments.

I wonder what the world would be like if we all stuck to these rules even when speak in general. In an earlier post I also blogged about only saying things if they are ‘Good, True or Useful’… There would be no gossip, or belittling, or deception! It’s hard to even imagine such a place, and even harder to imagine myself actually following this rule everyday. Sometimes it seems that the more interesting topics of talking are around negativity… Why is that? It’s much more easy finding faults than appreciating the good. Is it the way we’re conditioned? To keep looking at the glass half empty and not half full?

Sometimes its important to acknowledge when things are not right and especially when you feel bad and stressed. Sometimes its good to discuss the way you feel and get it out of the system and we all have the right to feel what we do, the difference is not to just spread the negativity or project negativity to others making them the 'bad guy'. If there is something really bothering you, its important to tell to the person but not to discuss it behind his back.

I am going to try my best not to be a vehicle for this negative ‘cancer’ to spread. I might actually become rather quiet if I do. I'm going to try to challenge myself to try to find other intersting topics, like travelling or hobbies :) and to become more creative and find other interesting subjects to discuss…

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