• “That won’t work.”
• “I’ve tried that before.”
• “We’ll need too many approvals to get that done.”
• “Can’t imagine we can pull that off.”
• “It doesn’t sound doable.”
Do any of these phrases sound familiar? If so, you are likely to be an environment where people have stopped believing and where optimism has run dry.
If you’d like to infiltrate more possibilities into the workplace, we must let optimism lead. Sometimes even despite the evidence against it.
Optimism in the workplace increases engagement, promotes creativity, and fosters collaboration. When individuals look at the possibilities instead of the probabilities, new initiatives can happen more seamlessly.
If your involved in a team that gets stuck in pessimism look for a few of these factors to make shifts happen:
• Listen for the use of, “Always…” or “Never…”or “Every time…” – These overgeneralizations can be toxic. Always, never, every time show that people have bought into limited thinking. Redirect this by asking, is it true that it “always” happens that way?
• Watch the use of language—carefully. Often, people don’t realize they are using negative language to describe something. Ask people to reframe their conversations to be neutral unless something requires an opinion. What are the facts for now and we can discuss the options and opinions later.
• Be warned about labels. We can easily get in the habit of labeling people, things, situations, circumstances. It is the labels we assign things in our life that will lead us take a negative or positive spin. When people avoid labeling something, they can stay more open to the possibilities.
When we let optimism lead, especially in the workplace, there are great benefits to gain. Look to see how you can incorporate and foster more optimism among your team.
What are some other ways you spot and redirect pessimism into optimism?