Overcoming Negative Attitudes

My years of consulting with major companies have led me down interesting paths and into many fascinating experiences. Part of that fascination comes from watching individuals make career or business choices. Those choices have always fallen into two simple categories: positive or negative. In most cases, people usually choose negative choices over positive ones. Why? It can be explained by a combination of things that starts with a person’s upbringing, their own personal foundation, or their work environment.

In personal, sales, and business coaching, we sometimes need to reach past those combinations and teach our clients strategies that will help them make positive choices. I begin by teaching my clients that their negative attitudes originate in Distorted Thinking Styles.

Distorted Thinking Styles (DTSs)

DTSs are customary ways of thinking that eventually cause a misperception of a situation or event. Constant frustration can prompt Distorted Thinking Styles and negative attitudes. Frustration can lead to increasingly inflexible and even distorted thinking, which leads to greater frustration, which leads to more distortion, which leads to… you can see the danger here!

Five Types of Distorted Thinking Styles:

  1. Magnifying: Consequences turn into catastrophes. (“I’m going to be fired.”)
  2. Destructive Labeling: The extreme form of over-generalization, making someone or some situation totally negative.
  3. Imperative Thinking: Think of this as a list of inflexible rules about how you and others should act—usually based on negative past experiences.
  4. Mind Reading: This attributes motives that explain other people’s actions toward a person or event.
  5. Divide and Conquer: This happens because of over-magnification and a desire for support from others. People with DTSs tend to garner support, which usually creates division within ranks or groups.

Negative Attitude Examples:

The following are actual examples from people who suffer from negative attitudes and DTSs:

  • “It’s not my job.”
  • “But I have a college degree.”
  • “It won’t work.”
  • “It can’t be done.”
  • “They won’t like it.”
  • “You didn’t consult with us first.”
  • “I have no incentives.”
  • “I want higher pay.”
  • “Nothing stays the same.”
  • “There is too much change.”
  • “I don’t get any respect.”
  • “I have no growth possibilities.”
  • “They make more money than I do.”
  • “The other department should have taken care of it.”
  • “I have new responsibilities now so I can’t do it.”
  • “The other employees make more money.”
  • “My pay scale is less than the national average.”
  • “Because I don’t make more, I’m only giving 50%.”
  • “I just want a paycheck until something better comes along.”
  • “My responsibilities keep changing.”
  • “My perception is different than the company’s.”
  • “I am considered a bottom feeder.”
  • “I did the research—I should make more money.”
  • “I can’t advance because of a political environment.”
  • “I hope to get fired so I can collect unemployment.”

As you can see, there are huge challenges facing not only the speakers but corporations who must help their staff cultivate a positive, empowering environment.

So ask yourself these questions . . .

Are you one of those people with a challenging attitude? Or do you lead a team or oversee a group of people who may feel and react like this? If so, then I challenge you to implement the 7 Steps To Overcoming Challenging Attitudes.


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