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Dealing with negative attitudes in public safety

In this tip, Gordon Graham discusses how a bad attitude can “spread like wildfire” and how to prevent that negativity from getting out of control

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. And today’s tip is for everyone! Today I want to talk about your attitude.

Our attitudes are a big part of who we are and how we interact with those around us. Positive hopeful and constructive attitudes move us forward. On the other hand, negativity can stifle growth and poison relationships. Negativity breeds negativity.

But just because you have a positive attitude, it doesn’t mean everything is going to be perfect. Bad things can and will happen. A negative attitude is more likely to yield bad results and a positive attitude supports good results. It’s easier to destroy something than it is to build it. Please treat people the way you like to be treated.

Let’s talk about a coworker you know who’s just having a terrible day. Maybe he or she got up on the wrong side of the bed and everything and everybody is just plain wrong today. How does that negativity affect those around that person? How does it impact you? It’s so easy to take that negative energy and add to it.

Here’s a suggestion: don’t play into it. Recognize the negativity and stop it in its tracks. First, start off by trying to understand how they feel. Show some empathy. Be a good listener. Second, find some common ground. You don’t have to agree with everything being said, but if you can acknowledge what they’re feeling. Third, identify something positive and reinforce it. This doesn’t mean trying to force them to be positive, it means giving attention to something constructive – redirecting the prevailing attitude.

You know the glass half full versus half-empty? People with negative attitudes at work can adversely affect those around them. Negativity can spread like wildfire. It can cripple an organization. It’s better to stop it as soon as it starts rather than play into it. And that is Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham, signing off.

Get more tips from Gordon here.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.