Workplace Rights

Weekly (12/21/09)

Topic of the Week  Singing in the Rain... How to be more positive at work

Accentuating the positive:

• DO start meetings by sharing good stuff.
• DO give regular heartfelt thanks.
• DO ask people how they'd like to be acknowledged.
• DON'T suppress bad news.

Your Rant: All the negativity at work is killing me.

911 Repair,

The amount of negative energy at work today can suck the life-force out of even the most positive person. Which reminds me of a recent email from a reader. His company decided to give each employee a fancy pen to celebrate hitting their sales target despite the downturn. Everyone was delighted, it was something few would have purchased for themselves.

Then a few months later each employee got a notice saying how much he or she would have to pay in taxes for their "gift." Needless to say the employees were really angry. The reward became salt in their wounds. Work negativity can be reduced, but only when all of us start thinking about the implications of our actions on others. I've included three Do's and one Don't for remaining positive, not Pollyannaish. For more, check out, Mike Robbins' book "Focus on the Good Stuff" (Wiley, 2007).

DO start meetings by sharing good stuff. Is the best way to light a fire under people to beat them up regularly in staff meetings? Not at all. That's why it's so important to start meetings on a positive note whenever possible. Point out successes and worthy efforts. Be upbeat. Get the reputation for meetings that are productive and fun.

DO give regular heartfelt thanks. Being grateful is something that so few of us seem to have time for anymore. I think we all need to go out of our way to be more thankful. And I'm not just talking emails. Send a handwritten letter. Call them up. Give tickets to a concert or event. Break through the clutter and let them know that you appreciate what someone else has done for you. Want to know why this is so important to do? Because most of us can't remember the last time someone did it for us. We need to break this bad habit of overlooking victories, both big and small.

DO ask people how they'd like to be acknowledged. It's called the Platinum Rule, "Do unto others as they would have done unto them." It's not about you, your needs and your preferences. No, we all need to do a better job of acknowledging people in the way that they want to be acknowledged. For some people it's a personal note. For others it's a very public salute. Don't know how the people around you like to be appreciated? Then get busy and start asking them. You'll be surprised by how impressed most will be by the fact that you just asked them.

DON'T suppress bad news. It is suicide to have a blind eye to bad news. Get the reputation of being a straight-shooter at work rather than someone who is playing games with information. Make your part of the bureaucracy the best informed.

Even the best intentions at work can turn into a poison pen to employees. Use these tips to keep it positive moving forward.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"I prefer the folly of enthusiasm to the wisdom of indifference."

–Oscar Wilde

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week


    Taking the temperature at work…Workers fight over the right temperature

    • 27% of workers say their workplace is "too hot"
    • 19% say it is "too cold"
    • 22% say a too hot workplace makes it hard to concentrate
    • 11% say the same thing about a too cold workplace
    • 10% say they've fought with a coworker about the temperature at work


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