The December holidays just may be the most wonderful time of the year for people with the Positivity talent. They have a mission to bring joy to the world by making more than holidays happy. If you have a coworker or neighbor who is rocking blinking holiday jewelry or a Santa hat, or has decorated their truck with reindeer antlers and a red nose or their cubicle with colorful lights and garland, you may know someone with Positivity.
People with the Positivity talent unselfishly share their genuine joy of the season with others. They brilliantly create and build a dynamic environment of contagious enthusiasm. From sing-alongs to ugly sweater contests, they celebrate people and successes, encouraging higher engagement and productivity.
Their optimistic attitude is on year-round. I once worked with a poster child for Positivity whom I will refer to as Stacy. Her upbeat attitude was attractive and infectious. When she walked into a room the mood lightened and energy scaled upward. This woman was a natural people magnet.
As her trainer I found myself in a position where I had to have some crucial and difficult conversations with her at the end of her second year. These brought some disappointment, pushback, and a few tears. When my supervisor asked me to select people for my year end peer evaluation, I reluctantly put Stacy on the list, expecting with our recent tensions that I would get some critical but necessary feedback.
The day of my evaluation I resolved to be in a teachable and receptive posture. My marks were high and included very affirming comments with a couple of growth areas that I was already aware of and working on. Surprisingly, my boss was finished before the “other shoe” dropped. So I had to ask, “What about Stacy - did she fill her report out?” My boss scanned my evaluation and said “Boy did she. She had some of the best things to say about you!” I was shocked and then remembered her Positivity. Stacy was focused more on the positive outcome of our conversations than the difficult processes - which became my biggest takeaway from the evaluation.
It’s important to remember that if the Positivity of that Happy Elf is in an environment that has become negative or around people who are toxic, they may begin to fade and become Grinchy and toxic themselves.
Their mobilization towards sunshine can sometimes miss certain emotional cues. A young intern said it quite profoundly in one of our workshops, “One way Positivity can hold me back is that I am not good at empathy. I may be focused more on helping people get to a better place than embracing them in the moment where they are.”
But ‘tis the season to be jolly. So If you think the holiday-crazed coworker is annoying or over-the-top, consider the possibility that their Positivity may be the very thing your team needs to move to a better space and bring energy, optimism and fun to the season’s cold and dreary projects.
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