I hate being around “downers.” You know the kind I’m talking about. Not only is the glass “half empty” to them, but they would be quick to add, “My glass is chipped, it has a greasy film on it, the water is lukewarm and hey, I wanted tea, not water!” I want to have a positive attitude with these people, I really do, but it’s hard to do when I’m imagining myself wrapping duct tape around their mouth. Seriously, more than just being positive myself, as a leader I want to help them figure out a way to stop being so miserable themselves.
This isn’t intended to be a pep talk about positive thinking, or a guilt trip to shame you into having a better attitude. When it comes to improving our attitudes, many times what we need is a little perspective outside of ourselves. But seeing the perspective, and then doing something about it are sometimes two different things. Sometimes what they need, or what we need is a swift “reality check” kick in the butt!
First Swift Kick- Your Attitude Is Not Just About You!
I’ve heard it said on teams I was a part of, “So I have a bad attitude, so what?! It’s my life, my attitude!” And it is their life and attitude. But what they are ignoring or failing to recognize is that all of us influence & affect others with our attitude, so it’s NOT just about us. Let me put it this way. You have the freedom to swing your fist wildly through the air as much as you like… unless it makes contact with my nose. Your rights to swing stopped where my nose started! A bad attitude by you or a member of your team has more negative impact than any punch in the nose might ever have. It can undermine the success of your entire team, alienate clients, and spread out beyond your organization, even affecting the personal lives of others. So the next time you or someone else defends their bad attitude by stating that it’s not hurting anyone else, correct that misconception… with a swift kick, if you need to.
Second Swift Kick- Your Attitude Can Totally Screw Up the Trip!
Attitude is more than just a feeling or a reaction to the moment. It is a force that is as influential as the rudder on a ship. Attitude charts a course for your day or for company, and this course can be affected by everyone, from the lowest man on the totem pole to the CEO. Attitude affects quality, it affects performance, it affects the bottom line! Attitude is kind of like the windshield on the car… It affects how you see things, and if it’s messed up, you have a distorted view of reality. We’ve all heard it said, “It’s hard to soar with eagles when you work with a bunch of turkeys!” But leaving attitudes like anger, resentment or frustration splattered all over your “attitude windshield” by the turkeys in your life is just nasty. Clean the windshield and move on!
Third Swift Kick- Your Attitude Can Give You a “Rap” Sheet That Will Follow You Forever!
Anyone who has crossed the line and gotten in trouble with the law understands that a criminal record can cause long term issues with employment and even in personal relationships. Whether you’ve recognized it or not, attitude in an organization is as valuable a resource as your money, your time or your manpower. People in the workplace can “embezzle bitterness” and “vandalize happiness”, robbing productivity and damaging the work environment for everyone. I don’t know of any company that approves of its employees abusing their expense accounts or being flippant in the use and management of their staff. Individual and corporate attitude can and must be managed with just as much accountability and passion as the money that has been set aside for staff bonuses!
Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics once said, “The speed of the leader is the speed of the gang!” What pace are you setting when it comes to attitude? Then get Kickin’!