Do you have negative, critical and frustrated people in your workplace and perhaps those people are even bringing you down?
Well here’s a bit of hard reality: they’ve done some research lately to be able to see, is there anything in our brains in this neuroscience field that’s constantly evolving, that can help us understand why so many people are walking around being so critical and negative. What they found is that about 70% of our thoughts in any given day are critical or evaluative.
Why on earth is that?
Well it makes a bit of sense, if you look in terms of evolution we probably needed to be a bit more on guard to be able to stay alive than we need now. It’s a fairly recent thing in Western society that life’s pretty good for the most part, right?
So what can we do?
We can’t change our brain structure and we can’t change people. And I know you’re probably expecting me to say the old adage, “Well the only thing you can change is your own attitude and your own self,” and that’s true, but that’s not what we’re going to talk about today. Because we actually can shift people’s behaviour in the moment, you agree? In fact, I’m going to give you a resource for you to try it out. This book, you have seen it and other VLOGs, “Forever Recognize Others’ Greatness,” is our concept and we have an exercise that allows you to appreciate negative people and negative comments in the moment. The exercise that you can download is called, “Complain, complain, complain,” and my co-author, Brenda and I love to do it with people because they realize in 2 1/2 minutes or less, people can wind themselves down and out of a complaint.
That’s not all the things I have for you; I have three more strategies that I want to tell you about so download that resource and now buckle in for these three.
The first strategy…Acknowledge Individuals’ Value
I have my kids in lots of different sports and I rely on the people who are organizing those sports big-time. One particular lady, she’s pretty negative and she’s grouchy, she’s “scowly” in fact; my husband asked me to go deal with her because he doesn’t want to, and I thought, one day I’m going to acknowledge her value. It’s going to be my goal to make this lady smile. I have no idea what’s going on in her life – who knows? It could be really, really rough. So why can’t I try to make her smile; what have I got to lose? So I acknowledged her value and said, “You are the centre of the action; you know all the things that are going on around here and I have a question and I wonder if you wouldn’t mind helping me.” I acknowledged her value because she really is the centre of making that place tick, but do people treat her that way; have to wonder?
The second strategy . . . Point out Skills and Strengths
Everyone wants to be acknowledged, understood, valued; and everyone, even people who are negative and complaining have it. This lady’s organized, so I said, “You’re very organized and I bet you could find the answer to this question a lot faster than it would take me to email different coaches back and forth; would you mind looking up…” and then I asked her what I needed. She said, “I’m very busy, very, very busy.” I said, “I know because you are trying to keep this place running and afloat but I’m wondering, if you wouldn’t mind, given how organized you are, if you could take a look and see.” She decided that she would because I’ve acknowledged her so she is coming from that place of, this lady appreciates me.
Here’s the third . . . Be Present
. . . and please don’t forget about this third one because it is essential. Be present.
If I had asked her that question and then went onto my smartphone and started scrolling and paying attention to everything else, how valued would she feel? It would just feel like I was giving her false compliments. But I was present. So what did I notice? She had a lot of paperwork on her desk she was juggling a lot of things, I said, “See all this stuff you’ve got here is just a testament to how pivotal you are to this place. Look at all the things you are juggling and I really appreciate you taking time out to help me when you’ve got all these important things to take care of”. She looked up at me and she said, “Thank you for noticing, most of the time people just demand things of me and they don’t care that I’m in the middle of something”. See, she felt unappreciated. No wonder she’s negative when you have that much work to do and you have so many people that are depending on you and yet you don’t feel valued. I think that would make anybody negative at some point, right?
I hope that these tools and strategies have been helpful, including that download – and please download it; use it within your teams. You can use it one-on-one; you can even use it for practicing having good, effective customer relationships because for those of you in service or caregivers, you have negative folks who you have to care for, so it’s invaluable for you too.
Thank you so much for tuning in and please subscribe to my YouTube channel because I think you’ll find there are all kinds of other resources that will help you have a really healthy culture and a much happier, greater job satisfaction.
My name is Sarah McVanel. Thank you for joining me. Be well and be great!