You’re Contagious, Do You Know What You’re Spreading?

Sometimes when we are sharing advice, our intention may be to help improve what is going on around us. What we likely do not realize is that we are choosing to focus our attention on evaluating, judging, comparing and/or criticizing, and that this attitude itself has negative impacts.

Focusing on and sharing what is not working, rather than focusing on what is working and appreciating, is making an implicit request that others focus on negativity too. In this way, negativity can be contagious.

Tony Schwartz, in his HBR blog “Emotional Contagion Can Take Down Your Whole Team” offers some valuable insights:

• The mood and attitude someone brings to work are as important as their skills

• Attitudes can spread fast, and negative ones can be highly toxic

• Positivity can’t be faked well or for long – authenticity is revealed in facial, vocal and postural cues

• Be aware of what you feel – you can’t engage or shift what you don’t notice

The key to balancing realism and optimism is to embrace the paradox of realistic optimism.” Have “the faith to tell the most hopeful and empowering story possible in any given situation, but also the willingness to confront difficult facts as they arise and deal with them directly.

We agree, in fact, we say choose:

authenticity —  by recognizing your emotions,

response-ability —  by recognizing the impact you and your emotions may have on those around you, and

appreciation — to generate authentic good will and engagement.