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Note: This is a guest post by G.E. Miller of 20somethingfinance.com
Have you ever wondered what it would take to get that boost up the corporate ladder? Have you been frustrated when co-workers with less seniority or seemingly lower intelligence and talent than you have taken the next step in their career while you have sat idly by waiting for your turn? To find the answer to these questions, often times you don’t have to look much further than your attitude.
A recent Marketwatch study found that the majority (53%) of Americans don’t like their jobs. The study concluded that the major reasons behind dissatisfaction were displeasure with compensation and barriers to promotions. Only 36% of workers are happy with their wages, 21% with their bonus plan, less than 25% with promotion policy, and less than 33% with potential for future growth. When surrounded by all that group think negativity, one has to wonder how anybody can stay positive at work these days.
It’s easy to be negative about our jobs. After all, we’d all rather be sitting on the beach somewhere reading a book and sipping on a beverage.
Attitude can be everything when it comes to career advancement, and often times taking a look at the dynamics of how you interact with others at work can hold the key to success. Being positive at work shows that you are a winner and can lead to an accelerated pace in moving up the ladder at work. There are three clear reasons those who are positive are the ones to prosper.
Being positive shows that you can adapt.
In today’s ever-evolving, profit-driven economy, adaptability is key. Consider print news publications. We’ve all read the headlines about how newspaper subscriptions have sharply declined with the Internet boom. This industry has faced dramatic layoffs, and has frantically been trying to adapt to a digital world with content-rich websites.
Amongst all these layoffs, do you think ‘Joe Pessimist’ who is still holding on to the belief that the Internet is a passing fad, and print news will once again return to the limelight will be receiving a promotion or even spared his job? Those who have embraced the change in consumer behavior and thrived in facing this challenge head on are most likely the ones who were able to keep their jobs (or moved on to better ones).
Being positive shows that you are able to handle stress and will stick around.
According to the American Institute of Stress, 40% of job turnover is due to stress. With management positions, this can be extremely costly for an employer, with turnover costs often exceeding 200% of an employee’s annual salary. Inhale, count to five, and exhale. With statistics like these, it is not much of a surprise to see why management will give a promotion to ‘Sue Positivity’ versus ‘Joe Pessimist’.
It’s more enjoyable to work with positive people.
Would you rather work with someone who is positive and nice or someone who is a pessimistic jerk? The answer is pretty easy. In fact, I will go on the record to say that I’d much rather work with someone with below average intelligence who is pleasant to be around than someone with above average intelligence who has a rotten attitude. I don’t think I’m alone. It’s also equally as easy for management to make those same judgments. And guess what – they actually get to pick their peers.
So, what can you do to show management that you’re a positive team player; a positive winner who is ready to be promoted?
1. Acknowledge everyone and call them by name.
This sounds easy enough, but how many times per day do you walk by somebody who doesn’t even look up at you? Say hello, smile, and call people by their name – we all love to hear our own names. If you are viewed as an ‘island unto yourself’, you are not going to be well liked, known, or respected, and as a result you won’t stand a chance of getting promoted, and may even have a hard time keeping your job. You can change, start today.
2. First impressions are lasting impressions. Make sure your first impressions are positive.
We’ve all had painful copy machine or water cooler first encounters with someone who has unloaded the tragedy that is their work life upon us. Don’t be that person. In a busy workplace it is natural for people to immediately make a decision whether or not they want to be associated with someone (and then be done with that decision forever). You can’t control judgments that others make about you, but you can control how you present yourself to others, and presenting a positive attitude won’t get you blacklisted by the people who matter.
3. Record yourself interacting with others or when giving a presentation.
It’s been stated that as much as 93% of how we perceive others is based on non-verbal cues such as tone, expression, and posture. I’ve seen and heard myself on video and I have a hard time believing that person is actually me. But it is.
What we don’t realize about how we appear may be hurting us. Slouching shoulders, looking away from someone while conversing, or using a lot of filler words can be signs of negativity, or disengagement. The best way to bring attention to non-verbal cues is to put a camera on ourselves as we interact in a home setting or during a presentation (real or practice), study, and then repeat. This can be painful to watch at first, but it may be the only way to get honest feedback on how you present yourself to others.
With a little practice and a positive attitude you may soon find yourself reaching new heights in your career. Have you found success at work by showing a positive attitude? What techniques have you used?
G.E. Miller teaches all-comers how to build a foundation for financial success at his own blog, 20somethingfinance.com. If you enjoyed this article, you may subscribe to his feed, or read one of his other articles such as Be Green; Save Green. Reducing my Commute will Fund My Retirement. 10 Ways you can Save at the Pump.
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