Management Matters – How to Be Upbeat Right Now

You’ve seen the commercials:

“In these uncertain times – “

“In these challenging times – “

“In these difficult times – “

“In these troubling times – “

The “school of positive psychology” gets extra attention during times that seem daunting. People are trying to balance the continuing deluge of bad news with an optimistic outlook. Today’s headlines certainly test our ability to find hope.

Happiness certainly feels better than anger or depression and there are studies that actually measure the effect an upbeat attitude can have on our health as well as an organizations’ bottom line. Many years of research suggests that being happy at work can improve revenue, employee retention, customer loyalty and even creativity. While I don’t advocate acting as if the current pandemic isn’t happening, I do think it makes sense to focus on what you CAN do, what you are good at doing, and what brings joy into your life.

Take Action

Upbeat people and optimistic leaders behave in ways that generate positive energy. Consider using some of these tactics with others when you feel or current situation is dragging you down:

  • Communicate positive stories from people. Not only are you focusing on the people who support your community or organization, you are providing reinforcement feedback to others who want to know that what they are doing matters to others.
  • Acknowledge someone who made you more effective. Gratitude and attention improves productivity.
  • If someone’s strengths don’t align with their responsibilities right now, see if you can adjust their responsibilities. People like to ‘go to their strengths’ and tend to solve problems faster when they are feeling capable of doing so.

  • Look for fit rather than skill. Skills can be taught but a good fit is worth more to you (and your firm) in terms of positive energy and emotional strength, both critical attributes in tough times.
  • Focus outward rather than inward. Helping others can be empowering and keeping your attention on what may be going wrong tends to drain. Complaining may be the default mode of choice, but it IS a choice. Choose to concentrate on ways you can take action or support others
  • Suggest something fun. “Wacky Hat Day,” or “Ugly Sweater Day,” won’t change the business climate, but they can create an opportunity to lighten up you ZOOM meetings, have some low-cost fun, and help people focus on having a good time. Smiling can be contagious and the physical act of laughing is an exhale that relaxes the muscles.
  • Take time to inspire and create. Meetings that shine a light on what people have accomplished can keep them focused on how their contributions fit into the larger purpose. When things improve, you and those around you will be poised with new ideas, strategies and focus. You can use teams to explore ways to save money collectively, rather than simply making a unilateral decision to cut budget or people.

Note: people may feel upbeat as a result of your positive outlook. Don’t forget however, that it’s a temporary way to address the problem’s brought on by COVID19.

Hope can vanish if left to flourish on its own, so doing nothing at all can make result in a drain on people’s psyche. Your goal should be to help folks stay focused on doing what they CAN so they will be more upbeat. Since each person is unique, employees will define happiness at work differently from each other.

Nationally recognized consultant, trainer, author and professional speaker Joni Daniels is Principal of Daniels & Associates, a management consulting practice that specializes in developing people in the areas of leadership and management, interpersonal effectiveness and efficiency, skill- building, and organizational development interventions. With over 30 years of experience, she is a sought after resource for Fortune 500 clients, professional organizations, higher education, media outlets and business publications. Joni can be reached at

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