• Maud Vanhoutte

Are you a Positive Team? - The Power of Positive Thinking

Positive teams create positive cultures - Help your people to be happy and engaged with 16 ideas to develop a positive workplace culture.

How to develop a positive attitude in the workplace? Why a positive attitude at work is a career advantage? How to think more positively at work? How positive thinking builds your skills and improves your work? What are the benefits of a positive attitude in the workplace? How to build a positive team? How positive teams create positive cultures? How can employers build a positive team culture? What is the real power of a positive team?

Is positive thinking a new tendency? Does positive thinking really make our life better? If you give positive thinking a chance, you will see that thanks to small changes and actions, your life, attitude, health and relationships will positively change. When you invite positive thinking at the office, you can observe engaged and performing teams in action.

The theory behind the power of positive thinking

The power of positive thinking is a theory saying that if you believe that good things will happen, they will. Some people are thinking that it is true, for others, it is only an illusion. They are all right! The power of positive thinking is a belief. If you believe that it is not working, it is not, if you believe that it is working, it works. A great way to quickly assess your power of positive thinking is to ask yourself “Am I happy?” If you can not answer 'yes' to the question "Are you happy?", then you need to develop a more positive mindset. Happiness comes from within... Read more about the power of positive thinking.

How do we form negative thoughts?

Adopting a positive attitude is a little more than putting a smile on your face all day trying to keep positive thoughts. Negative thoughts are fuelled by fear, anger or sadness and promote negative behaviours and attitudes in both your personal and professional life. Negative thoughts are blocking your creativity as they are keeping your mental focus. Unconsciously, negative thoughts are leading to negative and disempowering questions. You are then focusing on what is missing and what is going wrong instead of keeping the focus on potential solutions and alternatives. Such thinking patterns can run work relationships and reduce teamwork accomplishments.

Is negative thinking due to internal or external factors?

As much as we want to think that our negative thinking patterns are coming from external factors, we have to take ownership and control of our own thoughts: we are responsible for our negative thinking patterns. We tend to think that our level of happiness depends on external factors such as having a great car, getting this amazing job, buying a nice house, having a great manager, making friends with our colleagues or getting married; the great thing here is that we have the power! Happiness comes from within. Negative thinking is due to internal factors. Some external elements can be a trigger, however, people are not in charge with your thoughts or reactions…

You have the power

You can not change the World, you can not change others, and you can not always have the perfect here and now. What you can change is yourself, and it will change everything. You can change your perception, you can deal with your emotions and decide how you will react and that will change everything.

You have the power to decide, to take actions, to change your thoughts, to change your state of mind, to change your vision of the World and to be happy!

Remember that no one owes you anything. It is up to you to make things happen and hard work is what brings good things. You have to be willing to accept changes and, when things are difficult, you need to keep going. Or, you can let your cognitive distortions guide your thoughts and stay negative and disempowered.

Cognitive distortions or the distorting mirrors of our thoughts

Do you know what cognitive distortions are? They are the distorting mirrors of your thoughts. They are all those mental misrepresentations holding you from seeing a situation as it really is. Cognitive distortions are responsible for most of your negative thinking patterns. We can all be guilty of them from time to time but if you are always looking at situations through them, you are missing great opportunities to be happy.

Cognitive distortions or the distorting mirrors of our thoughts

Take a second to ask yourself, do you use mental filtering, polarised thinking, personalising, catastrophising, shoulding and musting, global labelling, jumping to conclusions, overgeneralising, emotional reasoning, magnifying and minimising, blaming, always being right? The first step is to gain awareness of your tendency. Now that you know about this tendency, you can work on it. Focus on the most frequent distortions and work on reducing your tendency. Replace disempowering questions and thoughts by empowering ones. A great way to do so is to try to stick to facts while removing emotional reactions.

The actual cost of workplace negativity

The cost of negativity at the office

The true power of positive thinking

Positive thinking is a way to expand your mind and see greater possibilities in life. That view leads to actually living your life in a way that makes it natural to be exposed to and acquire new skills.

Everything is possible

“If you have zest and enthusiasm you attract zest and enthusiasm. Life does give back in kind”. Norman Vincent Peale, progenitor of positive thinking. It is not a theory; it is an epidemic situation.

Just like anger and negativity are contagious, happiness and positivity spread quickly at home and at the office. If you want to learn more about the true power of positive thinking, be sure to read our article The Power of Positive Thinking - Towards Solutions


"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony."

Mahatma Gandhi

Developing a positive workplace culture

Given we spend so much at work it is essential to work on how to make workplaces engaging and positive places to be. Researches show that employees perform better for companies who care about them. Leaders who stay in touch with their employees have employees with higher levels of satisfaction and commitment. Leaders who don’t connect well tend to forget about people and relationships while focusing on tasks or knowledge. Work can be stressful and challenging, and most professionals face deadlines and obstacles on a daily basis. We all have many and various tasks to perform in our job and the focus can become too heavy on completing tasks, meeting deadlines, getting the job done, that we lose sight on enjoying work and operating effectively in teams.

Positivity increases our ability to develop our creativity, to evolve in our careers, to deal with challenges, and to collaborate with other people. Companies with positive workplace culture see a reduction in absenteeism and staff turnover. Employees in such companies are more satisfied and more productive. Have you ever been part of a highly motivated, high-morale team? If you have, chances are that most days, you were happy to come to work. You were focused and enthusiastic. You enjoyed collaborating with your colleagues and, together, you worked hard and came up with some great ideas.

You will find below 16 ideas to develop a more positive workplace culture. Some initiatives can be taken at an organisation or team level when others will be taken at an individual level.

8 Teams and organisations initiatives to develop a positive workplace culture

Hire positive team members

Hire for attitude, train for skills. As positive and negative thinking are both contagious, you might prefer to surround yourself with positive people. If you invite positive collaborators to join your team, they will have a positive impact on your organisation.

Invite positive communication

Focusing on both internal and external communication, you want to consciously select positive and inspiring words. If you express yourself using terms such as issues and problems, you might block your collaborators’ creativity. If you communicate using terms such as challenges, opportunities, solution-quests, options or interesting and new situations you stimulate your collaborators’ problem-solving skills.

Host a positive thinking workshop

Invite a positive thinking workshop to assist your talents in developing positive thinking habits. This fun and interactive soft skills workshop will act as a team building event and will create an impact around teamwork, communication, leadership, confidence, trust, responsibility, morale and bonding.

Invite random acts of kindness

As a team leader or an organisation’s director, you want to lead by example. Invite random acts of kindness at work to set the tone. Doing something kind for people has the same effect as trying new and exciting things when it comes to feeling happy; if you manage to create a habit of kindness at work, you will have happier employees. Invite a cycle of generosity and happiness in your workplace.

Banish whining and complaining

Encourage suggestions and improvement ideas but banish whining and complaining from your workplace culture. Such negative habits are ruining your workforce motivation and willingness to perform. In both individual and team meetings, invite your employees to share their concerns and highlight dysfunctions as long as they can provide some ideas and options to fix the situations. Such processes will lead your employees to adopt a problem-solving attitude, naturally reducing the whining and complaining tendencies.

Agree on team behaviours

Talk about your work, your roles and establish agreed behaviours and rules. Ask everyone to commit to the code of conduct guidelines. Having agreed standards of behaviour and performance will ensure you agree with everything from house-keeping and tidiness, to the use of shared resources, break times, meeting times, complaints and email management.

Implement a coaching/mentoring strategy

Implementing a coaching/mentoring approach in the office offers excellent results. Create pairs of talents across departments, so that people can share challenges about work, get inspiring ideas and develop strategies for building skills in their careers.

Have regular performance and career discussions

Annual reviews are not effective enough to keep your workforce motivated and engaged. Managers should have regular one-on-one meetings with their team members to assist them in their role. Such discussions are offering guidance and assistance to team members and are an opportunity to highlight a specific need or challenge.

8 Personal initiatives to keep a positive attitude at work

Decide to be more positive

The first step to develop more positive thinking patterns is to be aware of your negative ones. You then need to decide to change your thinking habits. Be aware of how you choose to think and speak at work and find a positive way to view everything and everyone. Focus on your own happiness, wellbeing, and emotional intelligence. Because your attitude is a form of expression of yourself, you want to communicate the right messages.

Fill your mind with positive input

If listening to the news every morning is giving you anxiety and leading you to feel down and depressed, you might want to change your daily routine. Listen to your favourite (positive) music or audiobook, meditate in the morning, exercise… If you are what you eat holds true for your body, your mind is what you feed it.

Your mind is what you feed it

Start your 21 days challenge immediately

As the brain is made of habits, you might have developed negative thinking ones. If you want to become a more positive person, you need to work on creating new thinking habits. As we need to repeat a new process to make it a habit, engage yourself in a 21 days challenge. For 21 days, you can not hold a negative thought, criticism or self-criticism for more than 2 minutes. For any longer thought, you need to restart the challenge from the beginning. If you manage to stay positive for 21 entire days, your unconscious will integrate it forever. You will become a positive thinker.

Assume responsibilities and focus on your internal factors

Remember that negative thoughts are coming from within. Stop trying to put the blame on others and take responsibilities for your thoughts and actions. Once you do so, you are ready to adapt your responses to different situations instead of adopting a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Do your ABC

To reduce your cognitive distortions, start by doing your ABC: Accept the situation, Breath, and Concentrate to take any necessary action.

Organise your time and manage your stress

It will be challenging to stay positive if you feel anxious and overwhelmed. Create a routine and implement processes that work for you. If you are more productive in the morning, keep demanding tasks for the morning. If it gets hard to stay focus in the second part of the afternoon, dedicate this time for easy-to-accomplish tasks.

Focus on repetitive situations

Life is a great teacher, if you don’t learn a lesson, it will repeat it. Some people are convinced that certain situations keep happening to them. They often think that people are always reacting or treating them the same way. What if those people could change those repetitive situations by simply changing their own responses? An easy way to do so is to take some perspective and to decide your reaction to known problems ahead of time.

Treat each situation as a new one

Treat each situation as a new one. This internal or external client is not the same as the one you talked to this morning. His request might seem similar, however, this client is unique. You want to look at each and every situation as a new one to avoid offering always the same type of response.

Do you have additional suggestions to share with our readers? Please, share them with us!

Maud Vanhoutte

Contact us:

+61 (0)2 9569 6906


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Click to discover The Power of Positive Thinking Training Workshop

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