How IT Managers Can Deal With Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts can kill an IT manager's productivity
Negative thoughts can kill an IT manager’s productivity
Image Credit:
Dave Sykes

As IT managers, we are always expected to be “up”. That means that when our management comes to us with a new assignment, we use our IT manager skills to say “yes”. When members of our team come to us and ask for help we use our IT manager training to say “yes”. Basically, everyone expects us to always be ready to help them out. However, we don’t always feel like helping everyone out. In fact, sometimes we feel a great deal of self-doubt and really don’t want to have to deal with anyone. Is there any way for an IT manager to deal with the challenge of negative thoughts?

Why Negative Thoughts Are Bad

When you have a negative thought, it’s the start of a bad process. All too often when we have a negative thought we will start to have the same thought over and over again. These thoughts do us no good and are basically unproductive. What we need to realize about our brains is that the more often that we have a thought, the more firmly established that thought is going to become in our brains. We really don’t want that to happen.

The good news for us is that things don’t have to be this way. We can take control of our thoughts. If you have the intent and if you take the time to practice having the thoughts that you do want to have, then you can create different paths in your brain. There is a name for this technique: “cognitive reappraisal”. If you can accomplish this, then you’ll have stronger neural paths that are devoted to happy thoughts, not negative thoughts.

If you want to have more happy thoughts, you need to understand how to go about doing it. The first thing to realize is that you cannot turn off your negative thoughts – nobody can do that. Additionally, if you are having untrue negative thoughts (nobody likes me) you can’t turn them into untrue positive thoughts (everybody likes me). Rather, what your goal needs to be is to re-frame your thoughts so that now based in reality.

How To Deal With Negative Thoughts

When you discover that you are having negative thoughts, your first step needs to be aware that this is happening. Before you can change your thoughts, you have to first know them. Recognize when you start to have negative thoughts and tell yourself that this is a waste of time. A great way to start to deal with your negative thoughts is to write them down. Take a look at what you’ve written and see if you can determine what may have triggered them.

When you start to have negative thoughts, one of the things that you need to realize is that most of your thoughts are going to be untrue. Because of this, you are going to have to start to challenge your thoughts. One way to do this is to turn your negative thoughts into questions: why am I a loser? Why does everyone hate me? You are going to want to write down the reasons that what you are thinking is wrong. Writing it down will strengthen your memory.

You need to realize that you’ve been having your negative thoughts for a while. Perhaps even for years. What this means is that when you start to train your brain to have more positive thoughts you are going to turn having them into a habit. Studies have been run that show that people who do this have been able to significantly reduce their negative emotions in just 16 weeks.

What All Of This Means For You

IT managers are a key part of how companies get things done. We are the people that other people come to when they have needs, questions, or want to do some IT team building. However, if we allow negative thoughts to start to fill our heads, then our productivity can start to drop quickly. When this happens, we need to look for ways to banish our negative thoughts.

Negative thoughts are unproductive and the more that we think about them the more embedded they become. You can take control of your thoughts and have positive thoughts. You can’t stop having negative thoughts, but you can start to have more positive thoughts. You need to challenge your negative thoughts and you can do this by writing down your positive thoughts in order to commit them to memory. Ultimately, you need to spend time having more positive thoughts in order to retrain your brain.

As IT managers we need to take control of our own productivity. This means that when negative thoughts start to creep into our heads, we need to recognize that they are there and take actions to send them away. The good news is that all of this is under our control and if we can find the time to have positive thoughts, we can get rid of our negative thoughts and boost our productivity.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What steps should you take if you discover that the trigger for your negative thoughts is in your workplace?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As an IT manager you are responsible for a group of IT professionals. What you need to do is to use your IT manager skills to clearly communicate to them what tasks have to be accomplished, when they are due, and who on your team is going to be responsible for doing what. Although this may sound like it is straightforward, many of my friends who are IT managers like to describe it as “herding cats”. How can an IT manager get their team to do what they need to have them do?