Copyright TIGERS Success Series

By Dianne Crampton

According to a recent article in Inc Magazine, those you surround yourself with have a stronger influence than you would think your attitude, personality, and work ethics at your place of employment.

Do you find yourself dreading to go to work because you are greeted by complainers, procrastinators, or overly dominate personalities – or – are you one lucky to work with problem solvers and “can do” team members? Team members and leaders that surround us in the workplace have a major impact on the role we play with colleagues, our personality consistency, and attitudes. The role and persona we assume in the workplace trickles down to how we handle ourselves in business. Therefore, if you think your personality is set in stone from the day you were born, think again.

According to a psychology experiment called “The Effects of Changes in Roles on the Attitudes of Role Occupants,” psychologists tested the theory that personalities are flexible. In the experiment, union workers were promoted to foremen and psychologists watched as their beliefs grew rapidly more pro-management and anti-union. When some of the workers went back to their union positions, their anti-management sentiments returned.

So, spending 8 to 10 hours a day surrounded by coworkers and leaders with a perceived mindset or who are complainers can push you towards experiencing unnecessary stress and discontent in the workplace. And, leaders who let times like these affect their physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well-being also torpedo their ability to problem solve, think creatively, and gain insights when these skills are needed most.

According to Bruce McEwen of Rockefeller University, stress creates wear and tear on the body that causes brain cells to shrink resulting in changes within the nervous system. Maybe this is why leaders who are unable to control their response to stress over a long period also suffer memory lapse and problems with decision-making.

So what steps can you take to reinforce a positive attitude throughout your workday? We at TIGERS Success Series believe in a simple common sense solution to neutralizing the stress response by calming the nervous system and expanding the brain’s problem-solving center. Melting Your Stress is a dynamic, scientifically-based e-workbook designed to help you reduce stress within 30 days. Self-paced exercises and self-assessments facilitate your physical, mental, and emotional stress coping strategies.

Here are three strategies found in Melting Your Stress to maintain an upbeat positive attitude and to help you regain control of your work attitude.

  • One strategy that influences physical, mental and emotional responses to stress focuses on the power of gratitude, compassion and empathy to release endorphins that calm the nervous system by neutralizing harmful stress hormones released when people are alarmed.
  • Another strategy that helps the brain work better is to incorporate omega-3 fatty acids into the diet. Consuming omega-3 supplements, salmon and other cold-water fish, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and green leafy vegetables keep the brain cell membranes flexible, creating a healthier and more resilient mind and body.
  • A third strategy is to master effective communication and conflict resolution skills to reduce stress and maintain leadership consistency. Learn to achieve success and cooperation rather than resistance when engaging with employees and team members.

Conflict resolution skills help you to:

  • Promote open and honest dialogue
  • Improve your team’s listening skills
  • Communicate with tact and respect
  • Handle communication breakdowns
  • Master your leadership style and recognize the style of problematic  employees
  • Identify how your leadership style impacts effective conflict resolution
  • Gain the team respect you need to lead team members to be accountable and responsible for their work assignments and achievements

Open communication between team members leads to the positive reinforcement of positive attitudes and work ethics. Sideline the naysayer and employee with a negative attitude and watch productivity and morale increase among departments and between team members.

Image Credit: iStock