My secret work weapon: be positive
A view from Ben Rhodes

My secret work weapon: be positive

Ben Rhodes, director of customer marketing, Royal Mail, on why adopting a positive attitude can help turn crises around quickly and help co-workers.

The unanswered email or text, the late entrance to a meeting, the lack of preparation for a review, the shoddy artwork presented, the target missed, the agency that changes CEO just when you need continuity… Anyone in a marketing function will have experienced this at some point.

Should you huff and puff, draw instant conclusions, log low performance against an individual or company? Should you criticise, complain or condemn? Will a negative and emotional approach improve performance? It could certainly make you feel better.

No one ever wants to be late, unprepared, pay too little attention to detail or miss a target. No agency ever wants to upset a relationship or present poor work. In fact, more often than not there are reasons why things don’t happen to plan.

People respond and perform much better to praise than criticism

In a world where you can turn your back for a second only to find order has descended into chaos in a flash, I have found that it is important to understand the changes in circumstances, give encouragement and help identify remedial actions.

There is always a positive, and people respond and perform much better to praise than criticism, no matter how frustrating things feel in the heat of the moment and the ease with which we can criticise.

My secret work weapon is to smile, listen, give the benefit of doubt and find a positive way forward. How do I know it works? Try it.