I've never met a person who wouldn't benefit from having a competitive edge at work.
Even if you're someone who's not looking to move up the corporate ladder or score that big promotion, there are many other ways you can benefit.
Pay raises, favorable performance reviews, better project assignments and other perks can be yours when you stand out from your colleagues.
The internet is full of advice on ways to increase your competitive edge at work. There are some solid recommendations out there, but most are the typical advice about personal development, learning new skills, joining professional associations, growing your network and more.
An area that's often overlooked is the importance of having a positive mindset. Researchers, including Sonja Lyubomirsky, have spent many years studying human happiness. In a bulletin published by the American Psychological Association in 2005, Sonja and her research colleagues described how happy workers experience many advantages over their less happy peers.
There's a serious lack of happiness is many workplaces today, so it stands to reason that one of the easiest ways to stand out from your co-workers is to be consistently displaying positivity and not negativity. But just being happy isn't enough to get ahead. When you combine a positive mindset with positive behaviors, you'll experience the true impact of positivity.
Here are the four ways that positivity increases your competitive edge at work.
1. You're an expert problem solver.
Studies show that having a positive mindset broadens your thinking and opens your eyes to opportunities. That gives you the ability to see a problem from a variety of different vantage points. You see choices and different outcomes instead of limitations. These are all characteristics of an expert problem solver.
2. You perform well under pressure.
Your ability to handle pressure situations is largely dependent on how you handle stress. Researchers have found that when you have a positive mental approach, you're more likely to look at pressure and stress as a challenge. When you feel challenged by the pressure of an important project or task, your positivity gives you the confidence and ability to rise to the occasion. Alternatively, when you have a negative mindset, you're more likely to see this pressure as a threat. When you feel threatened, your blood pressure and anxiety rises, adding to the pressure and making it more difficult for you to perform at you best.
3. You produce results.
When you're healthy and well-rested, you perform better at work. And happy people tend to practice healthy behaviors. I know from my experience that getting adequate amounts of exercise and sleep has a huge impact on my productivity. At the point during my career when I was burned out and miserable at work, I didn't exercise as much, and the quantity and quality of my sleep were less than ideal. These factors, along with other unhealthy habits greatly impacted my productivity and overall attitude.
4. People like you.
Let's face it, you're more likely to get ahead at work if you're likable, and positivity increases your likability. When you consistently display a genuine and likable demeanor, your colleagues, customers, and your managers take notice. Likable people also receive more favorable performance assessments. On the other hand, negative people are disliked and often shunned by everyone except other negative people. And who do you think rises to the top of the list when managers are forced to lay off staff or reduce hours?
During the latter part of my 20-year corporate career, I was unhappy and admittedly not very positive. My unhappiness impacted my performance and ultimately cost me my job. I hope this article helps you avoid making the same mistakes I made.
How would you benefit from increasing your competitive edge at work?