Be careful. You can easily infect the people around you. Everyone in your reach is susceptible. You can make others sick or make them better. And they have the same effect on you. When it comes to business, we must realize we are all contagious. Everything we say and do affects the health and livelihood of those around us.
Our words and actions leap off of us, infecting our coworkers. Our demeanor and behavior will grab onto them, and slowly corrupt (or enliven) those we come in contact with. I’ve long spoken about the need to surround yourself with positive people when attempting to learn. Business acumen can grow through osmosis alone. Over time, gradually, even unconsciously, you will pick up the best of other people and add it to your own self. If they’re infected with a virus of nastiness, that too will glom onto you and blight your performance. Everyone is contagious. When presenting ideas, replying to emails, or even providing constructive criticism, we have the responsibility to do so positively.
Everyone in business knows what it means to have a “cancer” in the office. One individual (or more) that poo-poos every idea. They slump in their chair, laugh at other’s misfortune, and hit below the belt whenever possible. You can tell someone is a cancer from their body language, their crassness, and their lack of care for their customers and coworkers. Their general outlook on life is one of pessimism or disdain. You do not want to risk coming into contact with them. Their behavior (if you allow it to continue) will negatively infect everyone.
This isn’t their ability to “influence”, but rather their ability to “infect”. Because negativity (and, in turn, bad business etiquette) is a virus. One that can decimate any work environment. When you are in a bad mood, it is difficult to shrug it off and move on. On the flipside, you interact in a much more amiable manner with people when you are in a Pharrell Williams-level “Happy” frame of mind. You are contagious all the time, but in wildly different ways based on your disposition. Whether you realize it or not, how you act will rub off on those around you. Go to work unhappy? It will poison people’s impression of you, subconsciously souring their own attitude at the same time.
Many are in fearful situations, whether financially, or due to health concerns right now. We wear our uncertainty on our collective faces. This dread has permeated into who many are as people. This pandemic has caused individuals’ personalities to forever change (and has changed your perceptions of a few in your social circle as well, I bet). They may never fully recover. They may be lost, but you are not. Keep your distance and don’t be a casualty. The people you work for are also contagious and those that work for you are especially susceptible. Don’t allow your own mood, or the chronic behavior and sadness of others, infect you.
Instead, do your best being a vaccine to the masses. Be positive and upbeat, even with unpredictability staring you in the face. Everyone is struggling, but you can be the medicine they need to grow strong. To be productive. People can easily pick up what you have. It can be good or bad. Just don’t be ambivalent about your well-being. If your mood is poor and you’re feeling down, stay home. Social distance. If you’re positive and good-natured, go out into the world and spread it. You are contagious!