10 Rules for Driving Positive Change

We’ve all been there: You’re heading into work, and there are certain faces you’re excited to see. But then there are the others.

They’re the ones who often impose their negativity on people and leave everyone around them feeling drained. The reality is that no one wants to share a cubicle with a mood killer. People want to work with positive colleagues.

Positive people draw you, and it’s a positive attraction, said Amy P. Kelly, who has been a human resources professional for 20 years and creates human capital strategies to enhance performance and profitability. “That is what inspires people to do and lead change.”

But how do you shake of the naysayers and drive positive change no matter where you are? Speaking at GovLoop’s Next Generation of Government Training Summit, Kelly shared 10 simple but powerful rules for overcoming common life and work obstacles and bringing out the best in yourself and your team.

  1. You’re the driver of the bus.

When you make the decision to acknowledge you can do things, it becomes one of your most powerful attributes as a leader. Don’t let other things tell you that you are not able to do it. When you see something you want to change, you need to drive the change you want to see.

  1. Desire, vision and focus move your bus in the right direction.

When you choose to be a leader you need to have a vision. Vision is the power of seeing your plan manifest before it becomes a reality. After you decide to drive, then desire, vision and focus are your steering wheels. You can move your bus in the right direction, and you won’t be distracted by negativity and the noise.

  1. Fuel your ride with positive energy.

What gets you to the vision is the fuel you provide yourself. That includes your thoughts and what you think about what you can and can’t do. As leaders, you have to be intentional. That is why mindfulness is so powerful. You have to keep your fuel gauge full and do everything to avoid complaining.

  1. Invite people on your bus and share your vision for the road ahead.

You have to be able to talk about the vision and share it. In other words, how well can you communicate what you see in the future and why it is important? If you have something you want to do, you can do more with a team. Tell them why something is important and why you have the desire to achieve it.

  1. Don’t waste your energy on those who don’t get on your bus.

Don’t discard people who don’t want to be involved, but you need to be very mindful of the percentage of time spent on people who do not want to be a part of what you are doing. You owe it to the ones who are committed to stay focused and keep driving.

  1. Post a sign that says “no energy vampires allowed” on your bus.

When you say that, you are saying people have a responsibility to bring positive energy to what they are doing and you will not stand for anything else. It doesn’t mean you don’t talk about things that are wrong, but it does mean you don’t drain all the positive out by gossiping. It is the leader’s responsibility to demonstrate that so it doesn’t become a part of your culture.

  1. Enthusiasm attracts more passengers and energizes them during the ride.

We are all developing each other. You need that enthusiasm for the road ahead. You need to think and ask yourself regularly about the leader you want to be. What do people get from being in your presence? Do they feel like they can accomplish something because of your encouragement?

  1. Love your passengers.

For leaders, it is essential that you authentically want the best for the people around you. What does that look like? First off, you want to listen to people. Pay attention to what is important to them. When you take time for the people you work with, it demonstrates you are caring and want them to succeed. Also, don’t forget to recognize people and acknowledge their contributions.

  1. Drive the purpose.

We all have an internal roadmap. It is what we believe we are here to do, and we need to drive like that purpose matters.

  1. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

You can have a lot more fun when you enjoy the ride because you are creating a lot of memories. You spend more time with work employees than family. You as positive leaders can create an environment where people can enjoy work.

“Once you make a decision don’t look at someone else and think who is going to do it,” Kelly said. “If you see something that needs to change, you may not have all the power to do it, but you can take a step in the right direction [to drive change].”

This blog post is a recap of a session that took place at the recent Next Generation of Government Summit. Want to see more great insights that came out of NextGen? Head here. Check out “The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy” by Jon Gordon for further reading.  

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Maria de los Angeles Arevalo Serrano

Thank you. Sometimes, groups inside enterprises work to stop development, maybe they are a little scared because of the changes that new challenges imply. Following these rules we will be able to make them comfortable.

Avatar photo Nicole Blake Johnson

Hi Maria, you’re absolutely right. Fear can be a huge barrier to moving forward. These rules can help to calm those fears and bring people along with us for the ride rather than leaving them behind.

Andrew Chalk

Well, you can tell this was posited by an extrovert, which is somewhat amusing, since “energy vampire” is actually a pretty good summation of what the sort of person who lives by these can feel like to someone who finds social interaction an energy expenditure and distraction rather than a focusing and recharging factor. Not everyone is wired for this to be a productive approach, and for those who aren’t, it can actually be counterproductive.

Tanya Nelson

Andrew… I fail to see how it matters whether one is an extrovert or an introvert, in the scope of this article. True, there is no “one-size-fits-all” model of successful change management, but the guidelines set forth here seem to leave enough room for maneuvering for various social styles. (For instance, introverts can follow the general guidelines by communicating via email rather than shouting from rooftops). I’d be interested in hear any suggestions you might have that would make this article more introvert-friendly.