10 Ways to Deal with Dark Gorillas

negative people

Pushing toward positive environments, while others pull down, discourages and frustrates leaders. What’s the use?

To make matters worse, one negative does more damage than one positive does good. It hangs on longer, too.

Organizations grow dark unless someone intervenes. But, negativity does just fine on its own. It constantly pulls downward, picking up speed on the way.

Positive environments require persistent attention.

“Your primary influence is the environment you create.”

Peter Senge

The work of leadership is building positive environments where people love producing positive results.

Get real:

Seeing problems isn’t the problem. Pursuing positive environments isn’t pretending everything’s OK.

Eternal optimists, on the other hand, can’t solve problems because they don’t see them. Negative people clearly see what’s wrong, broken, and falling short. In some ways, negative people show the way.

10 ways to find bright:

  1. Don’t pressure. Arguing a negative person out of negativity is an act of negativity. You can’t pressure people into becoming positive.
  2. Talk about the kind of environment everyone loves to work in. What is it like? How can we get there?
  3. Work with the team to define behaviors that produce positive environments.
  4. Forget about changing attitudes. Focus on behaviors.
  5. Go nuts over small successes.
  6. Unleash your dark gorilla in private with trusted friends. Cage him in public.
  7. Every Time you want to make a negative statement, make two positives. Does that feel like punishment?
  8. Confront negativity. When you hear negative statements, ask, “What makes you think that?”
  9. Face forward. Ask, “How can we make this better?”
  10. Avoid fixing for others. Dark gorillas want you to fix their problems and then complain when you do.

Until everyone is putting more positives than negatives in the bucket, you’ll have a negative environment.

How can leaders build positive environments?

Which of the ten suggestions above is most useful or important to you?