Why do People choose to be Negative?

I was using Google Reader to keep up with the many leadership articles that I read daily and I ran across  this topic on why people choose to be negative.  The notes below appeared in a HR article called ” Leading in Tough Times: It’s Good to Be Positive, Because it Always Matters” by Patty Azzarello

We all are leading in tough times now. If your team has any problems – then they are sure to show up when things get tough. People tend to show their real personalities when the stress is applied. In many cases, the stress comes from external forces that are common for that time in the year or conditions change in the market. The recession has applied stress to every business and to every leader.  Every company or business has a group of individuals that tend to feed off the negative.

Why do people choose to be negative?

  • It’s funny. It is a wonderful comedic platform to go on about how messed up everything is and how stupid all the managers are, and how no one cares about the employees.
  • It’s cool. Being cynical and subversive is way more cool than being the boy scout, showing that you are aligned with the lame corporate way of doing business.
  • You look smart. If you can use a lot of details and data about why everything is screwed up, and dive into endless root-cause analysis, and catalog all the blame at a very granular level, some people will think you are really smart.
  • It’s easy. Being negative and generating lots of data and commentary absolves you of having to do any work to fix anything.

But, being negative is toxic. It doesn’t help.

Nothing moves forward or gets better. This type of negativity draws people in because it a source of energy, and camaraderie in the absence of positive leadership. It becomes the way things are. And then it defines the future.

What does it look like to be positive and to lead? What are some tips for being positive and why are they important?

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