Positive Engagement in the Workplace and its Affect at Home

Growing up, I was always told to treat people how I would like to be treated and to always try to be the best person that I can be. Strangely enough, I never really looked further into that. As I got older, it became harder to always be the best person because of all of the negativity that seemed to surround me. Although, I must admit, I didn’t know it was because of all the negativity that surrounded me that made it harder for me to practice. This all changed when I received a book in the mail from the manager of the company I am in training to learn to design trusses with.

Attached was a letter that stated for me to read this book monthly, that it would make me a better person. I was skeptical. After all, I am supposed to be learning trusses, right? What did this have to do with trusses? All of these books seem to always be claiming to have the answer for all problems. This particular book was called How Full Is Your Bucket? (Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D).

In short, the book is about how negativity actually affects you, your productivity and your overall mental health. Then it goes on to explain how to increase, as I like to call it, “Good vibes,” or positivity. The main way that it shows is to ‘fill other people’s buckets’.

Filled-Bucket

What that means is that everyone has this ‘bucket’ that when filled, you’re more positive and when it gets drained, you’re more negative. To fill the bucket, the best way that the book stated, was to compliment people on their successes. Be nice to people, do your best to be positive towards people. Write them a note, on occasion, telling them good job. In other words, put a “drop” in their bucket.

It was shown that as people were being congratulated and praised for their successes, but still mindful of their faults, that they were in a better mood and more productive. That is something that made so much sense to me. The concept applies, really clicked. It resonated deeply with my prior experience. Let me elaborate a little.

In my prior jobs, I’ve had bosses and co-workers who were negative about everything and then I had some jobs where they were positive, gave out compliments when deserved. The jobs where I was surrounded with negativity, I became negative and lazy myself. I found myself slacking off and delaying doing my work. Totally disengaged! It’s not that I was a bad worker, I just found it hard to keep working hard when I was either constantly being ignored for my hard work or all I heard was complaints about any and everything. From there, I, slowly, started to bring the negativity home and I started to notice that it was affecting everyone else around me too.

Whereas on the flip side, my more positive jobs, I’d come home happy and positive and it was contagious, not only was everyone happier, but we all had more energy. I never realized that until I read this book, I saw it then but I never made the connection.

After reading it, I started to experiment with it myself, I made the connections, it all made sense. But I still was still skeptical, for whatever reason. I started giving more compliments, here and there. Not only were the people I was complimenting in a better mood, but even I felt like I was in a better mood, I just felt better. There I was, thinking to myself, “Wow, this actually does work.”

Even something as little as smiling at someone or waving, it made an impact. Everything just seemed brighter, and the more positive everything was becoming, the harder I was working and my training was becoming clearer.

Being new to truss design, I had my doubts and I was nervous about the learning curve and if I was going to become a good designer or not. But, from the beginning, my manager has been positive and always encouraging everyone. That, in itself, made me more confident in myself. Actually, everyone has been very supportive and encouraging, it’s inspiring to apart of a group of people who have that much positivity and are supportive of each other.

These are things that almost everyone is taught at a young age, but we don’t really understand the why or how it really affects people. We’re just told to do so we do. This book opened my eyes to the why and I feel that it has made me, not only, become a better person, but a better teammate as well.

Dominic Laporte – Design Trainee

Gould Design, Inc.