Every single day is a good day no matter how bright or dark it is, because it always brings an opportunity to start a positive beginning in your life. – Edmond Mbiaka
Negativity is a virus. It has a dangerously powerful influence, not just on the negative person and their inability to be successful, but on everyone. Negativity attacks those who come near it and instantly drains productivity.
One of the great business thought leaders right now is Jon Gordon. He wrote the bestselling book The Energy Bus which addresses this idea of creating positive energy in leadership. He uses the term “energy vampire,” which is a great description of what a negative or disengaged person is to those around them. They simply suck the life out of the rest of the team.
We have all experienced a situation like this: You walk into work or school or church in the morning and the first thing someone says to you is, “Are you feeling alright? You don’t look so good. In fact, you look terrible.” The next thing you know, you actually feel terrible, even if you were fine originally, but maybe just hadn’t had your coffee yet. That is what an energy vampire will do to you. That is how negativity can physically bring you down. As a point leader, you have to play defense against that every day.
Not everyone is going to be a Tigger or the stereotypical representation of the college “woo!” girls that we see in movies. Not everyone will be excited and bubbly all of the time. To be honest, most people actually don’t want to be in a “woo!” world because it is exhausting, but I would take that over an Eeyore any day of the week. I’d rather be around someone who believes it is always sunny than someone who always has a rain cloud over them.
If you see that someone on your team or in your sphere of influence is actively disengaged, you have to coach them on that immediately. As a leader, you have to address it. Frankly, this can only happen in the short-term because the mood either needs to change quickly or they cannot stay in the organization.
It sounds harsh, but think about it this way. You wouldn’t let somebody come into your organization with an active case of the flu, coughing with everybody else in the room. High negativity is that very same virus – but it spreads faster and can be even harder to recover from than the flu.
(As a side note – Jon Gordon is coming to speak at Catalyst University 2016. If you’d like to hear his wisdom, you can register now!)