Are Your Employees' Glasses Half-full or Half-empty?



November 3, 2022

The question — is your glass half full or half empty? — has been used for decades to emphasize the difference between negative and positive thinking. It's the tool that's used to describe two types of people — optimists and pessimists – so how do you use it to benefit your staff? Can you tell if someone’s glass is half full or empty?

Your employees may have a lot going on inside — insecurities within the company, overworked, money problems, relationship problems, etc. — which is why they're struggling to stay optimistic about their job. You may see it within their performance or attitudes around the workplace. With all the various reasons people can get down on themselves and become pessimists, it doesn't mean they should — or that you should let them.

Psychologist and CEO of Good Think, Inc., Shawn Achor has seen negativity in organizations and argues that you can change people's brain waves to become more positive — and ultimately more productive.

"If we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time," Achor said.

According to Achor, if you can raise somebody's level of positivity in the present, then their brain experiences a happiness advantage, which is your brain at positive performing significantly better than at negative, neutral or stressed.

The happiness advantage has shown that:

  • Your brain at positive is 31 percent more productive than your brain at negative or stressed.
  • You're 37 percent better at sales.
  • Physicians are 19 percent faster and more accurate at coming up with the correct diagnosis when positive instead of negative or stressed.

So, how can you create optimism within your office? You may think you lack the resources to change the levels of happiness and success within your workplace, but you have more ability to do so than you may have dreamed.

  • Journaling about one positive experience you've had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to relive it.
  • Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters.
  • Meditation allows your brain to focus on the task at hand instead of trying to compete with the multiple tasks you're doing at once.
  • Random acts of kindness are mindful acts of kindness. For example, send someone an overnight email praising them or thanking them for their work, so that when they open it up it's a positive start to the day.

Repeat these practices for three weeks, and it will create lasting changes in your office's happiness levels.

You want to become your employees' source of increasing happiness. Then, you can throw away all of the optimist and pessimist clashing. Basically, you become their "pitcher." Then, it won't matter anymore if their glass is half-full or half-empty — you'll be there to fill them up.


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