Four Steps to Improve Negative Team Attitudes

Nurse feeling sad with doctor talking to patient in hospital corridorAre there negative team attitudes that you need to improve in tyour organization?

You have likely heard before that students, employees, or athletes “don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” 

And while it is certainly a cliché, the truth is that it became a hackneyed phrase because it is honestly one of the most important lessons a leader can learn.

Negative Team Attitudes are dangerous – but enthusiasm and emotional investment are impossible to teach or verbally mandate.  They cannot be taught – they must be exhibited and caught.

To spread enthusiasm, create positive team attitudes, and build better relationships, you must first be a contagious care-ier.

Yes, I spelled that a bit differently on purpose.

The most effective and efficient was to lead you team to success – in any field – begins with you showing your teammates that 1. You are a competent contributor and 2. You CARE about what is important to them instead of focusing solely on your needs.


Just as the brightness of day always follows the darkness of night, positive team attitudes and great results will always follow when you follow these four steps:

C – Compliment

A – Appreciate

R – Recognize

E – Encourage.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 5:15 that we should not “light a lamp and put it under a bowl.” 

Instead, we should “put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”  It is your job as a leader to provide the light your people need – and the light of your comments and behaviors will give them confidence to shine.

When you see negative team attitudes or your people seem down, it is usually a lack of appreciation, recognition, or encouragement that is the issue.

Despite the need to recognize and compliment our people though, all too often, we end up like the farmer in Breughel’s painting that depicts the “Fall of Icarus” story.

If you are unfamiliar with it, Icarus is a Greek boy who escapes from prison with his father by making wings of wax and feathers.  The tragedy is that he flies too high and the sun melts the wax, so he falls to earth and drowns.

In Breughel’s painting, the body of Icarus is only a small and insignificant detail in the corner of the canvas.  The painting, at first glance, seems only to focus on a farmer tilling up his fields- too concerned with his own needs and responsibilities to notice something as fantastic as a man falling from the sky to his death.

Like the farmer, we get so caught up in our own daily list of personal concerns and to-do’s that we fail to see others who are in need of recognition or assistance.

But as a leader, it is your role to focus on the needs of your people.

Leaders set the vision for their people, and then must serve as a supportive and caring guide to help them contribute to the team’s ultimate success in realizing that vision.

To create fully invested and enthusiastic teammates, you must first model the behaviors of encouragement, energy, and appreciation.  Positive Team Attitudes are not taught – they are caught.

The four steps you will need to follow to improve negative team attitudes involve you becoming a contagious CARE-ier.

Compliment their contributions and efforts, and they will live up to your evaluation of their abilities.

Appreciate them, and they will feel valued as contributors.

Recognize them, and they will glow with pride in having others hear their actions applauded and acknowledged – and you will see repeated what you reward…

Encourage them, and they will run through walls to exceed your expectations.

If you want to change your world, seek first to improve your focus and your relationships.

Do these things consistently to build relationships and a culture of trust.  Your efforts will be contagious, and the positive team attitudes you desire will soon help your team persevere together through any adversity.

Once you have shown your ability and willingness to CARE, you won’t need to look around in fear of something falling from the sky.

People will seek you out for the assistance and encouragement they need, will begin replicate that behavior when interacting with their peers, and positive team attitudes will soon become an epidemic in your organization…

If you liked this article, you will want to request free access to Sean’s Teamwork Toolbox – over 50 useful handouts and activities for smart team leaders!