|Developing Positive Attitudes in the Workplace|
|By Carl ToersBijns, former deputy warden, ASPC Eyman, Florence AZ|
Workplaces can be very negative and very challenging at times. Your place of work was created by past and present cultures, customs and practices, thus exists through its own influences, creating with it a lack of enthusiasm that is sometimes difficult to deal with. This will often frustrate those employees coming through the door unprepared to perform in such a potentially volatile or stressful environment. They have to learn and cope with this flawed encounter of procedural inconsistencies in practices or techniques of training. Most likely, these false expectations of the job or personal disappointments were created by pre-conceived beliefs, expectations and perceptions. After all, many employees expect to work in a predetermined organization that is consistent in character of their own beliefs and are extremely disappointed to find out that there is a discrepancy between their own beliefs and behaviors and those of others who appear to be doing things their.
Almost instantly, newly assigned or transferred employees are looking for a change in their daily routines to find consistencies with their own style and practices. They are challenged almost immediately to change their own perceptions of pessimism that surrounds them and change them to positive thinking. Subconsciously and rarely confessing this to be the truth, they want to get rid of those pesky and intruding negative thoughts that impair their ability to perform up to their own expectations. Patience is the key to the right timing and being at the right place to make this change in the correct manner. The “core focus of cognitive psychology” is on how people acquire, process and store information. Cognitive research shows there are methods that can improve one’s memory, increase decision-making with a higher degree of accuracy and structuring educational curricula to enhance learning or development of skills associated to the job and career steps.
Block the negative thoughts and prevent them from developing into permanent thought provoked patterns. The rookie or the transferee has to create a mindset to take control of the thinking and created better thoughts with improved patterns of behaviors that reinforce the good things of the job and makes the day worth while as you meet these extremely difficult work problems head on and with good spirits. The first thing you need to do is find those individuals who are positive and good performers. Surround yourself with those who share your values, your outlook on job and observe the way they make decisions to cope with the difficult surroundings. Therefore, in plain English, spend some time with those you consider good role models and mentors. Don’t settle for mediocre when you can excel or do better than others.
Consider every situation carefully and examine what choices you have to make the right decisions and proper practices in place. Don’t let conflict between you and others lead you down the path of frustration and self-imposed morale-busters. In other words, you control the situation and avoid letting the situation control you. Many employers consider this as a “reality check” and often do little or offer any help to adjust in this area. It has been said that in order to avoid poor morale, an organization must promote a positive culture of commitment, high expectations and encouraging healthy relationships. There will be times where you won’t be able to eliminate conflict but realistically, you can attempt to reduce or minimize your own feelings by holding onto the beliefs and staying with good choices. Focus on your decision making abilities and capabilities and try to change the conflict to work to your advantage. Seek mentors who have demonstrated similar values and the willingness to share their experiences with you.
There are three key strategies to reduce your work negativity or frustrations. They all require persistent internal intestinal fortitude [guts and courage] and confidence that these strategies are needed to be learned in order to avoid becoming a whiner or complainer that are the very same people you dislike or abhor when it comes to getting the job done. The first strategy is to focus on your supportive thinking and approach the problem open minded and with fairness. Secondly, reduce the importance of the conflict and handle it with the required attention to detail according to your training and directions provided in the academy and the workplace. Lastly, when you find the conflict to extreme or disproportionate of your own values or beliefs, find a way to minimize your feelings without changing your values, your judgment or your personal evaluations of the situation.
Practice dealing with this matter every time you realize there is a conflict and work on it with tact and diplomacy. Don’t dwell on such keywords as “nepotism, favoritism, poor communication, out of touch management, non-supportive, unfair and inconsistent, bad attitudes and non-listeners.” Pretty soon, you will have improved your ability to recognize the situation faster and better, thus making your decisions more accurately to avoid becoming overwhelmed or involved with the problem and not making it your problem.
Remember that whether good or poor, morale starts with you!
Editor’s note: Carl ToersBijns (retired), worked in corrections for over 25 yrs He held positions of a Correctional Officer I, II, III [Captain] Chief of Security Mental Health Treatment Center – Program Director – Associate Warden - Deputy Warden of Administration & Operations. Carl’s prison philosophy is all about the safety of the public, staff and inmates, "I believe my strongest quality is that I create strategies that are practical, functional and cost effective."
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