Workplace positivity can be a good thing. But it may get in way when dealing with difficult situations.

Too much of a good thing: Being overly positive can harm performance


A positive mental attitude has its place. After all, if you’re constantly recognising the negatives, it can be hard to appreciate when things are going well. However, there is such a thing as disingenuous positivity.

In other words, being overly positive in the face of difficult situations can actually draw attention away from their seriousness. Effective communication and leadership in the face of a crisis is not one size fits all.

While staying unerringly positive may work for some, to take it as literal advice can be detrimental. Forbes contributor Jan Bruce suggested that it’s much more important to develop emotional agility.

Be a reactionary

The ability to be emotionally aware and receptive of all different kinds of situations is what sets the best leaders apart. In this regard, advanced leadership should focus on being mindful of issues at hand, rather than acting blind to the bad stuff by adopting a positive attitude all the time.

At the end of the day, bad events happen in the workplace, and it’s all about how you react to them.

Empower followers

Why is important to adopt the right attitude, at the right time? Consulting firm Peter Barron Stark suggested that a leader’s mentality will be adopted by his or her team – for better or worse!

So, if you take on a mentality of burying your head in the sand, then your peers will likely follow suit. This leads to a working environment where problems simply go unsolved.

Ultimately, we’re preconditioned to follow those in the know and may not even check whether the advice we’re receiving is for the best. That implicit trust is something that leaders need to be aware of. Use it in the right way when it comes to mentality, and the exemplary results will follow.

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