If you’ve worked in a virtual team for a while, you might have noticed that the lack of intimate, face-to-face social engagement can make some days draining and dull. You might have gone a few weeks without anybody really noticing and encouraging the important work you’ve done, and this can feel deflating.
You’re not self-absorbed for feeling this way! Humans are social animals; we need social engagement to fill us up and make us feel connected. And if we’re not exchanging constructive feedback with others at work, our general sense of optimism and even our overall health can decline.
On the surface this may not seem like something to worry about. Oh, but let us reassure you, it is! By letting negative thoughts overwhelm you, over time they can wear you down with stress, pollute your thinking with cynicism and pessimism, and ultimately inject the same destructive attitude into other team members. The last thing you want to be is the “energy drain” on your team, right?
In our book, Follow My Voice, we have a section called “Building Resilience”, where we look at ways to spawn more positivity and heartiness on your team.
In particular, today’s article will expand on a few of the book’s suggestions, so that you can overturn these forces of negativity into a more positive, resilient attitude towards your work and life. You might find the following three tips helpful for learning to be more optimistic.
1. You can learn to be more optimistic. As authors Claire Sookman and Amir Ahmed write in Follow My Voice, “Being positive isn’t a condition. It’s a skill. And, like all skills, positivity can be learned.”
We wrote an article touching on this subject last week called How to Encourage Your Virtual Team to Embrace Challenges. We talked about how you can shed your ‘fixed’ mindset and adopt a ‘growth’ mindset to help you more courageously and optimistically face challenges in work. But learning to be more optimistic is about adjusting the way you perceive positive events as well.
When you complete an assignment or project, are you crediting yourself for the hard work and dedication you put forth? Don’t brush off your achievements nonchalantly; encourage and reward yourself for jobs well done. Recognize the strengths and assets you bring to the team—they are important so don’t ignore them.
2. Use reciprocity. We’ve all heard the old adage, “treat others as you would like to be treated.” But those timeless words are true. People will respond positively to you if you interact positively with them. If you’re a grouch, always picking out the negative aspects in a project, then your team will loathe being in your presence and will hold back from encouraging you. Your colleagues’ lack of support and encouragement will only worsen your feeling of well being and optimism. So it’s best to be positive towards others, so that they feel it’s ‘okay’ to be upbeat and cheerful towards you.
3. Don’t take anything for granted. This is a point we discuss in Follow My Voice. Appreciating your team’s output is crucial to nourishing a sense of optimism within the group. People will want to do good things because you reward and encourage good contributions. There will be a stimulating and cheerful atmosphere surrounding your team.
“When was the last time you said ‘thank you’ to a team member who completed their task well?” write Sookman and Ahmed. “Demonstrating appreciation will show team members their work is meaningful. Showing gratitude goes both ways, and will also make the giver feel better.”
We hope you found these three tips helpful for developing a positive attitude within your virtual team. However, this is not an exhaustive list. For even more ways to build team resiliency, check out our book Follow My Voice.
How do you build positivity within your team? We’d love you to add to this list in the comments below. We love hearing from you!
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