Throwing Positive Snowballs

by Jul 23, 2012

In October, the World Health Organization published a startling report entitled “Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope.” Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of the WHO, noted that the “global toll of mental illness and neurological disorders is staggering.”

Psychologist Corey Keyes of Emory University notes that the absence of mental health may be just as harmful to a person as depression. He places emphasis on social well-being as critical in a healthy adjustment to life. According to Keyes, a socially healthy person:

1. Sees society as meaningful and understandable
2. Sees society as possessing growth potential
3. Feels a sense of community belonging and acceptance
4. Accepts most parts of society
5. Sees oneself as contributing to society

Workplace bullies are not socially healthy. They do not believe their workplace (or the people around them) are meaningful or have growth potential, and they certainly do not feel a sense of community belonging.

But neither do targets of bullying. Bullies can rip any faith in one’s workplace community to shreds. As victims are scolded and yelled at, and responsibilities are taken, they lose faith in their leaders and the opportunity to grow, and they certainly lose any chance at belonging and acceptance. It’s easy to let a bully rip all hope of positive thoughts from your soul.

But negative experiences lead to more negative experiences. This is called the Snowball Effect. When you stub your toe it becomes easy to think your day is going to be bad. As your day continues it gets worse and worse, but that’s because of your own negative outlook. As the ol’ adage claims: “When it rains it pours.” But think about this – we think things are that way because we think they are that way. In other words, we have a choice as to how we view what’s happening around us.

Luckily, positive experiences can do the same thing negative experiences can – but creating a “positive snowball” effect instead. When you get out of bed and think your day is going to be good, it usually is.

This positive thinking comes from vigor and thriving within your organization. The former refers to feelings of emotional energy and cognitive liveliness, and the latter to experiencing a sense of vitality and learning at work. When we experience these positive emotions, we are more likely to be healthy. Positive emotions provide us the capacity to develop effective responses to challenges, navigate through change, and promote our own development.

Thriving and vigor require constantly being in touch with your emotions, and an active intentional engagement in personal and professional growth. That means not allowing the bully to take your positivity away from you. Keep in touch with your own emotions, and hang on to your positive feelings. The bully can’t take your vigor. It’s yours to give away.

 

References:
Nelson, D.L., & Cooper, C.L. (Eds.) Positive Organizational Behavior (2007). London: Sage

About Catherine Mattice

Catherine Mattice, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP is President of consulting and training firm, Civility Partners, and has been successfully providing programs in workplace bullying and building positive workplaces since 2007. Her clients include Fortune 500’s, the military, several universities and hospitals, government agencies, small businesses and nonprofits. She has published in a variety of trade magazines and has appeared several times on NPR, FOX, NBC, and ABC as an expert, as well as in USA Today, Inc Magazine, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, and more. Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter and teaches at National University. In his book foreword, Ken Blanchard called her book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-Ass Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” She recently released a second book entitled, SEEKING CIVILITY: How Leaders, Managers and HR Can Create a Workplace Free of Bullying.

What Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Really Mean

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are essential to creating a positive work environment where employees are happy and thriving. We work with organizations to assess and address any issues related to DEI, and we provide training and resources to help create a...

5 Action Items for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Building a healthy workplace where employees feel appreciated and respected requires, among other things, making it diverse and inclusive. It is essential for organizations that want to attract and retain top talent, foster innovation, and stay competitive in today's...

Toxic Work Culture: Three Behaviors That Contribute

Way before working at Civility Partners, I suffered from a toxic work culture. Even though I loved my job, it was very tiring—emotionally, mentally, and physically. The work environment was very unhealthy, and because of that, I made the best decision of my life by...

15 Tiny Habits To Kick Off Your New Year

If you’re anything like me, you kick off your New Year with all the lofty resolutions you can think of. In theory, it’s a great way to be intentional about your future. My problem in checking off those resolutions (and maybe yours, too) is twofold. First, I set...

Civility Partners 2022 Highlights!

2022 was full of learning opportunities and growth. And we had the privilege of sharing some of that knowledge with you, via our blog posts! See below for our highlight reel, in case you missed anything… *All of the resources referenced are re-linked below the video*...

In the Words of Luke Bryan…

I believe most people are good.   Working in an industry focused on toxic workplaces can often seem like the world is full of bullies and ill-intentioned people. I can imagine that working in a toxic environment could lead to similar sentiments. This is why it’s...

Can music at work constitute harassment?

After a recent webinar, a listener sent over this interesting article about a former Tesla employee who’s asking the US District Court of Nevada to agree with her claim that the “obscene and misogynistic rap music” played on site and the resulting actions of her...

Tis’ the Season of Thanks!

It’s the season of thanks and we want to recognize everyone we’re thankful for! We are so thankful to our clients, friends, families, pets, and awesome blog readers like you! We are thankful you take the time to read our content, and even more importantly, deliver on...

4 Ways to Level Up Your Delegation Skills

According to research by The Strategic Thinking Institute, 96% of leaders struggle with finding enough time for strategic work in their roles. They find themselves doing the daily tasks of the job, instead of thinking strategically about the business and taking the...

4 Ways To Overcome Loneliness in a Remote World

Written by: Suzzane Dickman-Perla   When the world first went into lockdown a couple of years ago, I was thrilled with the idea of working from home. Finally! No more waking up at 5am to make the two-hour commute to work. I could wear what I wanted and spend as...