Leading Change Requires Attitude Adjustments

by  Mike Henry  |  Leadership Development
Leading Change Requires Attitude Adjustments

My first job as a manager ended up being much more of a lesson than I had hoped. My prior leadership experience was limited to my fraternity or the Jaycees.

In my jobs, I had only had 2 or 3 bosses by the time I became a boss so I made things up as I went. Many of the things I made up were mistakes.

The trucking business experiences high turnover, but ours was even high for the industry. Our first hires left quickly. When I gave someone work, they often produced different results than I expected. And when they did something without being told, it was very often not what I would have wanted.

As the boss, I had to be called often, mostly for things being broken or stuck. Every call was a problem. It was a difficult time.

Out of frustration I began searching for answers. Both during and after that first leadership job, I made 6 attitude adjustments that transformed my negative, stressed, micro-management approach into a more creative, energized leadership.

  1. Focus On Others – Our team won’t be successful unless the members of the team are successful too. Focus on making our team members successful in a way that also creates success for the overall team.
  2. Be Transparent & Accountable – We get what we model. If we want accountable, reliable team members, we must be one too. As the manager, I had the power to fake it, but I didn’t want to institutionalize faking it, so I began to practice transparent accountability.
  3. Everyone Chooses – We always volunteer our best energy. If we feel forced to do something, we seldom give it our best. I began to ask rather than to tell and give people the opportunity to choose.
  4. Everyone Leads – We are each leaders. We each influence. I wanted to identify those who were purposeful and responsible with their influence, and give them the opportunity to choose to move toward the team’s ideal future.
  5. Everyone Learns – We don’t have to be taught, but we do have to learn. I worked to give people opportunities to self-develop.
  6. Respect Elevates – when we focus on others, model accountability, honor people as choosers, leaders and learners, we demonstrate respect. Our ideal team members are energized and elevated by that respect.

We respect our teams when we practice these attitude adjustments. And that respect brings energy and hope.

Now that you’ve read about my adjustments, what have you learned on your journey? What mental shifts have you made?  Which do you need to make? Share your thoughts below and let others in on your experience.

What adjustments you have made? I look forward to hearing them…

About The Author

Articles By mike-henry
Chief Instigator (Founder) of Lead Change Group and VP of IT for a mid sized technology company. Passionate about character-based leadership and making a positive difference.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

John E. Smith  |  31 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Hi, Mike:)

Excellent list with some very pithy, thought-provoking, and quotable statements, such as “We don’t have to be taught, but we do have to learn.” In one short sentence, you have given us clarity about where the responsibility for growth lies and reinforced an essential skill for everyone.

I honestly cannot think of anything to add, even though each of your points is worth a chapter in a leadership text all to itself. I’m just going to share these pearls as much as I can, so others benefit from your insight.

Thanks for a rousing start to our leadership journey this week:)


Mike Henry  |  31 Aug 2015  |  Reply

Thanks for the encouragement John. I appreciate your comments. We are actually running these 6 points as a post series on Thanks for sharing too!

Susan Mazza  |  02 Sep 2015  |  Reply

Very insightful Mike as well as powerful in its simplicity as John pointed out.

One I can think to add is Let Go. I could often anticipate what was going to break down and spent far too much energy “putting my finger in the dyke”. It was exhausting! The real problem was nothing got learned and nothing really changed for the better. I had to learn to let things get messy sometimes and instead of trying to prevent the mess or the breakdown I had to let go enough to empower others to step up and lead.

Mike Henry  |  02 Sep 2015  |  Reply

Thanks very much Susan. I appreciate the addition. Sounds like a song I heard somewhere… :-)

Dave Land  |  17 Nov 2015  |  Reply

Hi Mike,

I enjoyed reading your thoughts in regards to successfully leading change through the adjustment of attitudes. This reminds me of the story of the Pike Place Fish Market and how it has become a wonderful tourist attraction. When John Yokohama purchased the market, employee morale was low and the production matched. The previous owner used a fear-based management style which led to negative attitudes from employees and a high turnover rate. Yokohama got together with the remaining employees and they worked together to come up with a plan to improve the work conditions and ultimately save the business. His idea was to encourage his employees to have fun with their jobs, and wanted them to be themselves while at work. His changes quickly took hold and morale boosted. As they say the rest was history.

By listening, and actively engaging with his employees, he was able to influence the attitudes and become the best leader he could be.

In 1955 clinical psychologist George Kelly released his findings on the personal constructs of people. He found that each individual looks at the world through his or her own unique set of perceived notions. These constructs change and adapt as the individual is exposed to new and different situations. By changing your attitude as a leader and adjusting based on the workforce, you are setting yourself up for success in the future.

Thanks again, I enjoyed your post.

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