Focus on the positives

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Jul 11 2016 by Duane Dike Print This Article

Why do we feel the need to wallow in the negative? So many good things happen in our lives, but our work-world tends to drive toward the negative and the non-productive. For example, instead of finding those things we think might be good for a company, we hunt down the negative things, ultimately spending way too much time in those bad areas.

The answer to why we wallow?

The answer to why we prefer to wallow? Iím not really sure. I suspect that focusing on the negative, those things that donít work well, is a way of showing bosses how focused you are on making things better. But, is there a better way, a way of pushing for positive, while the negative fall by the wayside and, hopefully, disappear? I suspect there is a better way of making the world a better place.

I know how I feel when around bosses who like to say no to new ideas. Bluntly, itís a bit depressing. You go home in kind of a glum. But, on those rare occasions when bosses say, ďSure, sounds like a great idea,Ē you get an extra jump in your step. You begin to turn negative into positive.

Things that need to go away

We know there are things that just need to go away, that have overstayed their normal time. Yes, as loving as they can be, they need to go. But, gee, not everything needs to disappear. So many leaders think their jobs are to destroy the common good because disruption causes our worlds to take shape, making workers more productive. I suppose thereís some truth to that, but does improved workmanship have to come because of major disruption? Canít bosses try to make the world better for employees by showing them the good in their world?

The great bosses!

Iíve had great bosses, those who like to see the world from new perspectives, to try new things, and who appreciate the good in direct reports. These bosses are a breath of fresh air. But the others also exist, the ones who live on the negative side of things. They enter the work area looking for people who arenít pulling their weight.

Instead, they should look for the good in people and praise them. I learned something important from a boss along these lines many years ago. He told me that the best use of a briefcase was for your lunch. And the best reason for the briefcase was to fool your neighbors into thinking youíre important! He was joking, but there was something to that thinking. I/we work at a theme park in Southern California. Sure, our neighbors joke that we go to work and ride rides all day. But they know differently. They know that we work hard to bring the best family entertainment to millions of people. That takes hard work. But, it should be fun, too.

Itís the fun part that people miss out on. Youíd think that working at a major theme park should be funÖ and it is! But, not all people see it that way. Thatís sad. Gee, engineers can have a good time creating new inventions. Why canít I have fun working on a new entertainment show?

What I learned

What have we learned? When you get right on down to things, we have maybe 40 to 50 years of productive working. We can spend that time making others miserable or, the better way, spend that time making others feel wanted, productive, supported.

Do you want to die (sorry, it happens to all of us) one day and be remember as the person, letís say, responsible for laying off thousands of workers? Of course not. Those workers lost their jobs not because of their lack of effort, but because of a bossí, possibly yours, poor planning. Nope, when I die, my preference is to be remembered as a good friend, a fair boss, and a funny guy. I couldnít ask for more, really.

Thanks for listening.

ďOnce you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, youíll start having positive results.Ē [Willie Nelson].

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About The Author

Duane Dike
Duane Dike

Duane Dike is the manager of creative production for a large entertainment company in Southern California. He has a doctorate in management and organizational leadership and an MBA in management. He is a popular guest speaker for education and management groups on subjects related to innovation, leadership and thinking.