When you hear the phrase, “The power of positive thinking,” what comes to mind? It actually has negative connotations to many pragmatists in today’s marketplace. To some, it is associated with a non-realistic, pie-in-the-sky approach to life and work.
As Christians and as healthy leaders in our workplaces, however, we must stay as positive as possible and focus on the redeeming elements of our daily context. We should lead others to do the same. You may recall the story of the mother who poured beans into a pot for supper then left the kitchen to attend another task. Exiting the room she turned and instructed her four-year-old son, who had remained in the kitchen, “Don’t touch the stove, don’t mess with the oven, don’t play with the knives, and for goodness’ sake, don’t stuff beans up your nose!” With such a novel idea, the child helped himself to the beans to see what they felt like in his nasal cavity! It is reminiscent of the expression, “Don’t give ’em any ideas!”
In truth, as workplace leaders, we should be giving people lots of ideas at work. These ideas should be more directed, however, to creative, positive things as opposed to things not to do. I recall working with a man who was intelligent, trained, and dedicated to his work; he was also very negative. He held a leadership position and felt it his job, or so it seemed, to tell people all the things they were doing wrong. He reminded others constantly of what they “better not do” instead of leading them in ways to be more productive for the company. What about you? Do you foster a workplace climate energized with positive reinforcement? Research proves that companies whose employees are positively lead and not constantly chastised have in common at least the following: minimal turn-over rate, better bottom lines financially, less stress, less absenteeism, better employee attitudes and higher job-satisfaction.
Help employees and associates know what to do instead of harping on a list of “don’ts.” Compliment others on the things they are doing well and doing right. You need not ignore problems; that would be unrealistic and a reversal in productivity. Rather, be real about circumstances and situations but dwell on those things “worthy of praise.” Affirm someone today for what they are already doing right. And for goodness’ sake, don’t say anything to your coworkers about the beans. They already know not to put them in their noses!
“Whatever is true…honorable…right…pure…lovely…of good repute, if there is any excellence anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Phil. 4:8