Redirecting Negative Energy At Work: How To Get Back On A More Positive, Productive Track


Cy Wakeman, Contributor

September 28, 2015

When we hit rocky patches in the workplace, it’s easy to let our minds and actions spiral out of control, resulting in a whirlwind of negativity. It’s even easier for leaders to collude with employees and get caught in the crossfire. The ego thrives on such drama and even though it may be tempting to make it a priority, the reality is it doesn’t serve you or your team and it’s nothing more than a distraction.

And while it’s certainly unrealistic to think that everything will be perfect 100 percent of the time, tough times don’t necessarily mean the end of the road, either. Yes, you may have the occasional personality conflict with a co-worker or disagree with a decision made above you without your input. The key is to remain grounded and not get caught up in negativity that will deplete you of the time and energy that’s necessary for you to be the best you can be.

With a little discipline, redirecting this energy into a more positive place is easier than most of us realize. We must take control over the situation before it controls us. And Reality-Based Leaders know that personalizing the situation and letting it get the best of us is a luxury we can’t afford. In times of conflict, our workforce needs leaders who will step up and redirect their energy, helping them to see their circumstances differently so they can have stronger relationships and better results. Here are five ways leaders can help their teams achieve a more positive outlook:

1. Do a Reality Check

Our story, not our reality, is what really causes us stress in challenging times. We assign motive and speculate until the story is re-written in our favor, painting us as the helpless victims. Ditch the story and get back to the facts of the situation. Think about the next action you or your team could take in the situation that would add the most value and see it through to fruition.

2. Get Clear About Motives

If conflict is brewing, avoid the temptation to abandon or ignore organizational goals in order to achieve personal motives or goals – such as love, appreciation and recognition. Strive to be successful instead of right and you will achieve the goals at hand.

3. Be the Change

That which is missing from the situation is that which you are not contributing. Exhibit the qualities and virtues you want to see come out in your team during difficult times, such as open-mindedness, patience and tolerance. How can they act on your recommendations if you can’t do the same?

4. See Others Through a Lens of Love and Respect – Not Anger and Fear

Strive to see past others’ personality quirks and try to identify what they are trying to achieve or communicate. Determine how you can help them achieve it and take action.

5. Invoke a Clearer, Higher Perspective

When you sense that a situation is getting confrontational or personal, keep it professional and redirect back to the goal at hand. Keep the dialogue on track and ask about ways your team can contribute to it. How can they solve the problem together or take advantage of potential opportunities? Encourage them to rise above the noise and push them toward greatness. When we stop judging and start helping, anything is possible.

Cy Wakeman is a leadership coach, workplace consultant, New York Times bestselling author, and international keynote speaker who has spent over 20 years cultivating a reality-based approach to work/life challenges. For more on Cy, check out or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Also on Forbes:

10 Easy Ways To Be More Productive At Work

This article was written by Cy Wakeman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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