What Causes Positive Work Attitudes?

18 October 2023 at 09:49 · 5 min read

A woman at work with a radiant glow

“There is little difference in people, but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” 

What do we mean by a positive work attitude and why is it so important? We could say that it refers to an optimistic outlook where we are not only focused on our tasks but also on all those involved in the work of the company. As for why it is important: many studies have shown that positive attitudes allow us to see all the opportunities that are offered to us and to further our development both personally and professionally.

So what determines this attitude?

Well, the way we behave at work depends primarily on how we feel. Therefore it is important to understand that this behaviour - both ours and others' - as one of the aspects that affect our underlying attitudes. Attitudes relate to our thoughts, beliefs, and opinions about the environment in which we find ourselves, the people we meet or collaborate with.

Sometimes it can be hard to maintain a positive attitude towards work - even if we enjoy where we work. Situations can become complex, exposing us to stress, or perhaps some of our activities can become routine. However, this in itself gives us an insight into our attitudes and helps us understand that factors such as personality, interpersonal relationships, stress, and even work-life balance can affect their formation:


  • Personality 

Perhaps one of the most important factors in forming positive attitudes in the workplace relates to the personality of an employee. It represents a pattern of behaviour, feelings, and thinking. For example, if we take an extroverted person, who forms relationships with other people easily and who has general positive views, then their attitude towards work will likely be positive as well, which will result in higher productivity and good interpersonal relationships with coworkers.

  • Psychological contract 

Unlike formal contracts, the "psychological contract" refers to the implicit shared beliefs, perceptions, and obligations between employee and the employer. If, in the beginning, we see that our views agree with our employer, it will be much easier to use our potential and to see that we can be an equal member of the group and thereafter, to contribute to the work environment.

  • Interpersonal relationships, belonging to a group 

Two very important predictors for the formation of positive attitudes, as well as satisfaction and productivity at work, are our relationships with co-workers, and superiors. Together, these define our sense of 'belonging' to the team. If we have good relations within the company in which we work, it will overall improve our well-being and positive attitudes towards work. Relationships with managers are also very important here. If we have built a relationship with them, valuing our opinions will result in reciprocal commitment from the company.

  • Stress

Not surprisingly, stress influences our attitude. Any number of challenges that arise in a work environment can contribute to an increase in stress levels. If we work in well-organized company, that respects the needs of employees and gives them a sense of security, it will automatically create a positive view of our environment.

But sometimes the expectations of workers themselves can affect stress levels. If a worker has unrealistic expectations or goals that do not correspond to his potential, eventually a negative attitude towards the work itself can develop, and become a source of stress and frustration.

Sometimes the onset of these negative attitudes can be subtle and difficult to detect. But it need not always be that way. As always, properly tailored and preemptive support is always the best policy.


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