What is more contagious than a positive attitude? A negative attitude, of course!
I always ask, “Think of one positive thing that has happened to you this past week.” Often, I receive blank stares, quizzical looks, some hard thinking going on there. Given another thirty seconds, most can finally come up with something. What makes this exercise so difficult?
A much easier question would have been, “What is the worst thing that happened to you this past week?” People never have trouble coming up with that one. They are happy to tell you about things not working out in their lives. Interesting that makes them so happy.
Thinking negative thoughts is largely an unconscious activity. People express negative thoughts without thinking. Idle gossip is rarely intentional, it just happens and those who get sucked into it are not even aware they are traveling in that direction.
As a manager, if you want to set a positive tone, you will have to challenge your team to think about positive things. The expression of positive thoughts is a conscious activity. It requires active thinking. It is work to think that way. Positive thoughts and positive expression only occur intentionally. As a manager, it is your responsibility to challenge your team to think this way.
Think of the tone it sets for the rest of the meeting/day/week?