“Stay positive” is one of those pieces of advice your parents gave you back when you were a kid, but they were probably trying to support your emotional health rather than threaten it. That’s right surfers, a corporate environment that values positivity (or the appearance of it) over logic can diminish trust, negatively impact engagement, and erode company culture. And it’s got a name: toxic positivity.
It’s a concept that management may use to encourage an “it’s not an us problem, it’s a you problem” vibe, to avoid focusing on and fixing REAL problems in the workplace. Because if no one talks about existing issues, do they even exist? (Um, yes they do. They just don’t get addressed.)
Don’t let your organization force fake rainbows and sunshine down your throat. Learn to recognize toxic positivity and work to diminish it.
We researched and found these great articles on this topic:
Toxic Positivity In The Workplace By Julia Wuench, Forbes
“Toxic positivity is the suppression of real, negative emotions through phrases like: ‘Be positive!’, ‘Cheer up!’ or ‘Look on the bright side!’” , “Get over it” or “Move on.”In the workplace, toxic positivity can be especially harmful. It can make individuals feel invalidated, unseen and unheard. READ MORE
“In the workplace, toxic positivity-based company cultures can lead to distrust, guilt, and concerns over sharing ideas or criticism. This sort of mindset views employees as worker bees: disposable, solely focused on the task at hand, at whatever personal cost.” READ MORE
If reading isn’t your favorite thing, “Freakonomics Radio” has on awesome podcast episode about this:
We hope that you’re one of the lucky corporate surfers immersed in a healthy work environment –– a culture that celebrates the positives and wins, but also, acknowledges when things aren’t working (without making you feel guilty or crazy for pointing it out).
Either way, we’d love to hear about it! Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us about your corporate experience.