|Does Attitude Really Impact Your Ability to Lead & Impact Your Career?
By Sherry Redden Evans
Attitude. (Taken from BING.Com Dictionary)
1. personal view of something: an opinion or general feeling about something
"a positive attitude to change"
2. bodily posture: a physical posture, either conscious or unconscious, especially while interacting with others
3. challenging manner: an arrogant or assertive manner or stance assumed as a challenge or for effect ( informal )
"a streetwise teenager with attitude"
Synonyms: view, opinion, viewpoint, point of view, feeling, thought, mind
Synonyms: boldness, brashness, arrogance, insolence, defiance, assertiveness
Synonyms: posture, pose, position, bearing, stance, carriage
ATTITUDE - it's a powerful word, isn't it? The definition identifies almost all of the "behaviors" that make us who we are and how others perceive us. Without even thinking about it, we act out several of these behaviors every single day. I want to challenge you to take a good long look at your attitude and its impact on your life and career.
As we all know, in life, there are things you CAN control, and things you can't. Let's concentrate on the areas that you can control and that CAN be improved on. I have prepared a list of practical behaviors that can move you toward a positive attitude at work (the BONUS is that these attitudes and behavior readjustments stay with you even AFTER you leave the office!).
First, however, I need to point out the obvious - you must acknowledge and take ownership of your CURRENT behaviors, and you must truly DESIRE to make changes and improvements. Nothing will change or improve unless you want to do it for YOU - not for anyone else.
12 Steps to a Positive Attitude and Behavior Shift to Enhance Your Career.
- Choose your mood. Leave your bad mood and negative emotions at home - or out in the car - or anywhere except where you are right now!
- Don't be a naysayer! Remember to start your sentences (when applicable) off with a positive statement. Don't start off every sentence with a, "no, we can't do that" or "that won't work." Think about the repercussions to your career! You will be perceived as the "no can do" person versus the "let's see what we can do" person who is able to work around the problems. Look for solutions - don't just try to prove something can't be done. In the long run, finding solutions is much more beneficial to your career - you'll look like the hero when you do! I'm not suggesting that there is an answer to EVERY problem - but at least LOOK for one before you give up the search. Also, please don't get caught up in the "blame game." During a crisis, it doesn't matter who was right or wrong. What DOES matter (and who receives the positive feedback) is the person who fixes the problem. Obviously, the problem still needs to be addressed, but not through finger pointing.
- Be a consistent leader! Think of those leaders you respect. I bet one of the first behaviors you identify in a leader you admire, is their consistent behavior. Consistency in leadership brings people together; they know what to expect. Consistency builds TRUST and CREDIBILITY. Consistent leaders do not allow manic mood swings throughout the day and especially during a crisis, right? They are the leaders who DO NOT JUMP SHIP!
- Be approachable. Don't close yourself off from others. Be aware of your body language and expressions.
- Be an active listener! You don't need a training class on listening skills, just make a DECISION to really listen. You will be surprised how this one simple step will build your credibility. Active listening proves that you are interested and that you are engaged.
- Inspire, motivate, and encourage others. Your staff looks to you for direction. Believe me - they watch and listen to everything you do. If you are curt or rush people when you're busy, they are going to turn around and treat their co-workers with the same bad attitude and rude behavior. AND - it can spill over to inter/intra departmental staff and to the customer. You, your team, and your department will be perceived as difficult to work with.
- Project some enthusiasm! Have fun at work. Smile. Don't be that person who people are glad didn't come to work today. "That person" doesn't usually move too far up the corporate ladder.
- Have an empathic attitude toward others. Don't become desensitized, or project an attitude of "who cares?" I'm not talking about meeting around the camp fire and singing "Kumbaya" ... but you DO need to project an appropriate response to another person's concerns or issues. This is KEY to becoming a GREAT leader.
- Surround yourself with great people! As a manager, you are responsible for your staff's attitudes and behaviors. Their actions are a direct reflection on YOUR ability to lead. Be sure you are projecting the right attitude, and your staff will take your lead.
- Make time to coach and counsel employees with behavior or attitude issues. This goes for your supervisors as well. Don't allow your management team to tell you they don't have the time - it goes with the leadership responsibilities. They need to make the time - period. Hopefully, their creativity and good problem solving skills are one of the reasons they were promoted to management in the first place.
- Don't accept negative attitudes in your department. It dramatically effects employee morale. You can't expect the rest of the department to just "live with" and accept the negativity everyday. It will wear them down and your whole department's productivity, performance, and reputation will be negatively impacted.
- Think good thoughts - Don't stew in negativity. Yes it truly is that easy. You control your mood, so make it a positive one! Dr Robert Schuller, one of the most famous motivational speakers of all time, said, "you are what you think about all day long." If you're thinking positive thoughts and reflecting a positive additude, you'll have the energy to do your job to the very best of your ability. Negative additudes are emotionally draining and are of no value. As a manager, your time is valuable, so don't waste even a moment of it on negative thoughts and emotions!
Hopefully I've done my job well, and helped you to see that a great attitude begins with YOU. As a manager myself, I realize how easy it is to slip into the mode of convincing ourselves we don't have the time to deal with this kind of thing. So, my question to you is this - what happens if you don't take the time to make a few simple changes to your attitude?
Please don't be the person who continues to wonder why they didn't get that promotion, or who keeps making excuses about why you are not where you expected to be in your career (and life). Don't waste any more time. Stop and take the time to make the few attitude adjustments that impact your behavior. You'll be pleasantly surprised by the benefits of a positive attitude. Your staff will pick up on your lead and you'll see a shift in behavior, attitude, and believe it or not, productivity! Good luck to you on YOUR journey!