7 Ways to Help People Pivot from Negative to Positive

To get the ball rolling at the beginning of presentations, I share my cellphone number and ask people to text me fun questions. Serious questions come later.

2 fun questions I recently received:

Question #1: What is the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

This question comes from the movie, “Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail.” I wasn’t sure at the time, but after some research I discovered that it’s 24 miles per hour. (Style)

Question#2: Is a hotdog a sandwich?

A hotdog is NOT a sandwich. (NHDSC)

7 ways to help people pivot from negative to positive.

A serous question: As a leader, how do you help people become more positive?

#1. Listen to concerns.

Having concerns isn’t negativity. But don’t make promises you can’t keep. Negativity will escalate until concerns are heard.

Blind optimism isn’t positive leadership.

#2. Pivot from negative to positive. Say, “I see what we can’t do. What could we try?”

#3. Use the Bob the Builder method. The question, “Can we fix it?” helps shift thinking. (How to See the Bad and Pursue the Good)

#4. Begin meetings with affirmations and celebrations.

  • Where are we winning?
  • When I see you at your best …
  • You’re really good at …

#5. Practice positive leadership.

Be positive if you expect positivity from others.

  • Define positive leadership.
  • Seek feedback on the positivity or negativity of your leadership.
  • Adopt behaviors that energize people.
  • Avoid complaining about negative people.

#6. Explore the value of positive energy.

  • How important is energizing people to you?
  • How might we make energizing people more important?
  • How might we face harsh realities with positive energy?

#7. Give feedback on the impact of negativity.

“When you (name behavior), it drains me.” After feedback, employ #6 above. (Always speak for yourself when giving feeback.)

How might leaders help people pivot from negative to positive?


Building a Positive Team (MindTools)