Office and Admin Tools & Skills

3 Simple Ways You Can Be More Positive at Work

3 Simple Ways You Can Be More Positive at Work
Written by Miranda Pennington

To be perfectly honest, I find working closely with groups of people somewhat stressful. I notice plenty of details and lots of them are irritating. You may work with griping colleagues, grouchy colleagues, hypercritical colleagues, or just complaining ones.

How can you channel that nitpicky attitude into something that benefits the whole team? And how can you make sure you’re not a drain on the office yourself? Eve Ash, over at, has some helpful tips for you and your team.


1. Make Negativity More Productive

Put that judginess to work! Your detail-oriented approach will help you identify errors or inconsistencies and address them before they hurt your company’s profile. Use your “always see the problems” skills to be your team’s editor or “worst-case-scenario” planner. If you’re going to find fault in things, you might as well fix them!

The challenge is making sure your diplomacy skills are also well-developed, too—Mary Poppins was on to something with her spoonful of sugar idea.


2. Work On Yourself

Whether you work with colleagues who are negative or find yourself bogged down in self-critical or irritable thoughts, look for ways to turn your attitude around. Try to appreciate the passion behind a cub-mate’s inquiry or the opportunity to have them vet your work before a higher-up or a client sees it. Lower your defenses to hear their corrections as a sign of their investment in your shared work, not a criticism of you!


3. Encourage Others When You Can

If you’re receiving feedback that feels relentlessly negative or you find yourself caught up giving harsh critiques without softening them with some more complementary responses, make an effort to accompany every criticism with a constructive suggestion (and to ask that your colleagues provide the same). Make sure you acknowledge a job well done, even if it involves correction of your own work or what feels like a challenge to your authority!


About the author

Miranda Pennington

Miranda K. Pennington is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared on The Toast, The American Scholar, and the Ploughshares Writing Blog. She currently teaches creative nonfiction for Uptown Stories, a Morningside Heights nonprofit organization. She has an MFA from Columbia University, where she has also taught in the University Writing program and consulted in the Writing Center.