Chaos and unforeseen problems are bound to come up during your career. How you choose to deal with these circumstances determines if you are a good leader or not. Most of the time, people want to respond to challenges positively, showing an unflappable face to their company and co-workers. However, too much positivity in the place of realism can become toxic to your workplace culture. Here are some ways to deal with challenges without turning to toxic positivity:
Let There Be Problems
Leaders may be tempted to ignore problems or keep them hidden from employees. While there are some situations where this makes sense, keeping challenges hidden from employees can be damaging to your company and your mental health. When practical, share with your employees the difficulties the company is going through and what needs to be done to fix them. In general, your employees can tell when something is off, and it would be best if you discussed those problems publicly rather than allow employees to speculate.
Focus on Results
Demands don’t stop coming when things go wrong. In the face of a crisis, it’s important to be specific about what is going well, and what still needs to improve. When you say things like, “we’re doing great!” it sounds hollow and false to your employees. Saying something like, “if we get this project done on time, our company will come out with minimal damage” sets realistic expectations and gives employees something to focus their efforts on.
Even though toxic positivity can cause problems, it doesn’t mean that you should give up on positivity altogether. Focusing on what is going well is not a bad thing. Just be sure to highlight specific markers and tangible results rather than abstract promises. This will allow you to share positivity without it becoming toxic.
Everyone goes through tough times and it’s tricky to know how to handle them with the right amounts of positivity and realism. Following these steps can help you and your employees keep a positive, but realistic perspective.