How Your Positivity is Infectious


Continuing the momentum on last week’s post on communication, I thought it would be interesting to discuss positive attitude as an attribute in the workplace or rather, the notion of how one’s positivity is infectious. Recently, I completed a training session entitled “Effectively Interacting with Others.” Before we paused for the first break of the day, the facilitators instructed us to smile at others when we left the classroom and to pay attention to others’ responses to our smiles.

It was a fascinating experiment for me, a New York City native. If you’ve visited the capital of the world, you can easily distinguish the locals from the tourists. Visitors to the Big Apple walk slow. They stop and look up. A. Lot. They have cameras. They smile. On the other hand, I grew up in a concrete jungle and walked down many mean streets. Lifelong friends and close relatives will describe me as laser-focused; however, they’ll also tell you I have a warm heart. There’s some truth behind the cliché: “You can take the girl outta {insert place}, but you can’t take {the place} outta the girl.” While I can be intense and serious, I always try to be compassionate and present for others as well as listen actively.

Back to the training break. What happened next was truly priceless. From the classroom on the 12th floor, I walked to the elevator bank and rode down, and sauntered across the atrium level of our building to the café. If you’ve visited the renovated Health Resources and Services Administration headquarters, you know what I am talking about. Our atrium space is a “striking indoor public space…and energy efficient…the light just comes pouring in at different angles every half-hour.”

The point is – it’s hard not to smile when you walk through the atrium and look upward at career possibilities. Now, stay with me. I know I digressed a little bit. But, there is a point I will make here.

At each of those places, through the corridor, in the elevator, on the atrium, and even at the café, I smiled. At first, my smile was a bit forced. Then, I found myself laughing at myself because I thought it was such a silly assignment. I was wrong.

Every single person with whom I crossed paths looked right at me. In my eyes. I found that the simple greeting, and one we take for granted in our daily hustle and bustle, of “good morning” was very easily reciprocated. In one brief interaction, someone told me: “Boy, you look happy!” In another smiling interaction, a person complimented my attire. I won’t lie. I even felt good receiving their feedback.

Having a positive attitude accomplishes many “wins” and makes it very easy to get along with others, particularly difficult people, in and outside of the workplace. Additionally, having an optimistic, winning attitude will encourage those around you and foster positive relationships. Here are five quick tactics for your consideration and implementation from a “Communication Strategies Quick Reference Guide” handout I received at the training:

  1. Eyes, eyebrows, and mouth send out the signals that can make a world of difference.
  2. Exude charisma, read the auras of individuals.
  3. Smile before you dial (or in person).
  4. Use humor if appropriate.
  5. People who smile are happier than those who don’t.

In “The Science Behind the Smile, ” Daniel Gilbert asserts “…The things you can do to increase your happiness are obvious and small and take just a little time. But you have to do them every day…” Therefore, challenge yourself to smile a little more. Be positive. Let others see your luster. Who knows? You may end up helping someone realize their own sparkle.
Disclaimer: The opinions, references, and views expressed in this post are those of the guest blogger and do not reflect the official policy or position of the agency where she is currently employed.

Yesenia Flores Díaz is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

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Thank you, Tracey, staying positive and having an optimistic outlook is best;particularly, as we navigate difficult situations. Moreover, it is possible that this infectious behavior spreads to others and helps those who need it most. Thank you for reading and commenting.