Are You Contagious?

Are You Contagious?
Are You Contagious?

Think back to people you’ve worked or gone to school with.

I’ll venture to bet that you can remember one that you labeled Debbie Downer.  Despite the feminine name, it can apply to either gender.  You may have even sung the sad trombone that was made famous in the Saturday Night Live skit by Rachel Dratch a few years ago.

Bringing people down

Even though you and I have made light of this person behind their back, they still manage to bring you – and everyone else – down.

I recently read the book The No Asshole Rule, which provides research indicating that when you let those Debbie Downers (aka assholes) into your work place, they actually do bring people down and do serious damage to productivity, morale and even to your health.

Being positive

Approaching your work with enthusiasm, encouragement and optimism can be just as contagious.  I think some people still live in their high school worlds and need to be cool.  They fear that if they’re too upbeat, people will ridicule them for being so cheerful and optimistic.

They tend to go to the other extreme and act negative and cynical.  What they don’t realize is that people criticize them anyway.  They’re just more likely to do it behind your back when you’re negative.

Are you contagious?

Being positive doesn’t mean that you’re a constant cheerleader and everything is always peachy-keen.  But approaching things with a can-do attitude and encouraging people in a positive way can far out-perform the results of a negative attitude.

See my related post: Does That Guy Really Bother You

Give it a try for two weeks and let me know how it works out.

If you would like to learn more about working in consulting, get Lew’s book Consulting 101: 101 Tips for Success in Consulting at

As always, I welcome your comments and criticisms.  I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts and discussion items.