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Maintaining Positivity When Work Sucks

You don’t have to love your company. But, you have to love your people.

I had become fed up with my company. The decisions made at higher levels and the cultural shift which ensued as a result had removed the joy out of my job. It felt as if each decision made by upper management made my job harder. These decisions affected not only my work life but my home life as well. Each day at work became a test of my will—and I admit I was losing that test daily.

In this situation, I had been switched to manage a whole new team—again. Unfortunately, this team didn’t get my best. They didn’t have Dave Anderson, they had “Eeyore” the self-absorbed, grumbling manager. My attitude was terrible. I’m not sure if they knew it, but I knew I was simply going through the motions. I had no passion for what I was doing, and I blamed my company.

My wife knew I was unhappy. Many of my peers knew it as well. Unfortunately for everyone around me, I held onto this negative outlook for a year and a half. What changed it? Accountability from a friend. He pulled me aside one day and asked me:

What are you doing Dave? You’ve become just like the people you used to criticize. You’re hard to be around because you are negative all the time. This is not you!”

In that moment, I knew I needed to change. I didn’t have to love my company but I needed to love my people. It was my Duty to give them my best every single day—despite my circumstances. I had gotten in the habit of choosing a negative attitude, but I needed to begin to make a different choice.

I realized the source of my bad attitude was my selfishness. I was so focused on myself and how I felt that I ignored my moral obligation to lead my team well.

I did not agree with several of the decisions made by upper leadership. However, my company hadn’t asked me to make unethical or immoral choices. Though their decisions effected my quality of life and made my job harder, my team did not do anything to deserve my half-hearted commitment to them. Every thought I had which turned me into Eeyore, the self-absorbed grumbling manager, was focused on one thing—Me!

After my friend pulled me aside, I realized I needed to change. I began to make different choices each morning. It wasn’t overnight, but it was a path which took me back to the real Dave Anderson. I chose my attitude instead of letting my selfishness choose for me. As I began to focus on my people and how I could best serve them, I started to climb out of my negativity.

As a Leader of Character, it was my Duty, my moral obligation, to give our team my best—even when I didn’t feel like it. Each day, I made the choice to focus on what was best for the individuals on our team. Not long after this, I felt empowered and truly enjoyed working with them again.

It is a challenge for me—and for all of us—to exercise Positivity when work is demanding. But, being a leader does not mean everything always turns out the way we expect. It also does not mean we get to choose to only do what we feel like doing. That is selfishness and selfishness leads to a bad attitude. Leaders of Character put aside their self-absorbed feelings and do what is right for the team—whether they lead the team or are a member of the team. The key is to focus on what we can control.

Dig Deep Questions:

  • How does Positivity help us to coach and develop those we lead, regardless of our own circumstances?

  • Are you faced with a change within your own organization which has threatened your attitude? If so, what factors are key to remember in order for you to once again exercise Positivity?


Making a shift towards taking responsibility and living with Positivity is a lifelong journey. We want to partner with you as you practice the habit of Positivity daily, which is why we have created our Habits of Character Action Guides.

The Positivity Action Guide offers you a month of daily, interactive training complete with a daily reading, dig deep questions, weekly processing guides and instructions on how to use the guide both individually and with your team. The Positivity Action Guide is now available here.

We are behind you, championing for you, your teams and your organizations as you become the leader you wish you had. We want to come alongside you as you grow to confidently answer “yes” to the question, “Would you follow you?”

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