Don’t try to stay where you are or once were to make others comfortable. Let your growth challenge everyone and everything around you!Sarah Jake-Roberts
Some people appear to be misled by a myth that there is a secret recipe to success. Let me assure you, this is totally not the case. Notwithstanding, some common themes are evident amongst the most successful leaders and business owners. Personal qualities such as “passion”, “attitude” and “consistency” are embedded in their lives.
From my own experience, these may be the most important skills needed to drive personal success. Persons that possess this unique combination are almost always likely to make a much greater impact.
Through general observation and mentorship of others, my general assessment is that too many employees fail to build consistency and show genuine passion; I may even argue that this may result from fundamental flaws in their overall attitude. Simply put, many employees need to get their attitudes in check! There…..I said it! Especially those with strong technical capabilities and know-how yet continue to get overlooked for career advancement opportunities. Almost 100% of the times, this happens when something about the employees attitude is what I generally refer to as “off”.
“The greatest day in our lives is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up!”John Maxwell
One of the most valuable lessons I learnt early on in my career is that attitude matters! But how many employees today are truly willing to take the important step of evaluating their attitude? Way too often the natural response is to look outward for others to blame or all sorts of other reasons verses pausing for a moment to conduct that important introspection of self; and ultimately, the attitude their bring to the job. In particular, their interaction with others. Rightfully or wrongfully, “perception is reality” and having a positive attitude many times helps to manage “intent versus outcome”.
This hit me like a ton of bricks when I first entered the banking industry to work on a short term project and was quickly identified as project lead and later selected from among five other young professionals for an extended contract. As inexperienced as I was at the time, it was quite evident that the only difference between myself and the other team members was the overall attitude I brought to the job. It was not like I felt any smarter, as a matter of fact, my peers were all in the process of completing their degrees, while I had only just started to pursue my Community College certificate. The fact was that as tedious in nature as the project was, I maintained an overall positive outlook and worked feverishly to keep the project on track, while others slacked off because they had become bored and lost interest in the project. My decision to remain assertive and accept accountability for the entire project, including pulling the extra weight, surely did not go unnoticed. Furthermore, I intentionally sought out other unrelated tasks to help break up the monotony of the project (truth be told the project really was boring as heck). This approach resulted in me forging some really cool relationships with other employees that sought to mentor me and without even realising it, I had repositioned my “unofficial” role, ultimately landing me a full time position in the company.
Young professionals today are quite ambitious, which is truly admirable. Sadly, many fail to realise that failure to go beyond the normal expectations of the role will never cause them to stand out amongst their peers. My daughter absolutely hates when I use the word “average” but the point must be made that way too many average employees exist. Adopting the minimalist approach and somehow expecting to see maximum returns. Don’t get me wrong, all employees can make a contribution; however, it must be clearly understood that this approach does not lend to sustainable growth and career advancement. The simple reality is that you have to put in the work and this will only be sustainable if you have made a conscious decision to check your attitude.
Get your attitude right!
Will you be proactive or reactive? Will you strive consistently for excellence and not only when others are watching? Will you be passionate about success and bring the right energy to the job versus just doing enough to get by? Will you take genuine pride in how you present yourself or will you lack executive presence? Will you be solutions-oriented or labelled as a complainer? Will you make decisions that align to the company’s vision or will you be driven by emotional reactions? Will you be a team player or seek individual recognition? Will you be approachable or scare aware other team members? Will you adopt what I describe as the victim-mentality or will you seek to first understand? Will you forget about the title for moment and choose to lead or will you follow? Will you focus on the positives or pick at every flaw and risk earning the label of being negative? Will you respect your peers and their views or will you try to keep shutting them down? Will you share your knowledge or be intimidated by the growth of others? Will you accept constructive feedback and take action or throw your hands in the air and feel sorry for yourself or worst yet, be mad at your manager?
Of course I can go on but the remarkable thing is that we have a choice every single day regarding the attitude we embrace. It is our choice how we respond to circumstances. We have to decide where we want to go and what matters the most. How we achieve both our personal and professional goals will be very much wrapped up in our overall attitude and the perception of others. Maintaining a positive attitude supported by the right level of passion and energy will breed consistency and this surely will produce a win for your career and life in general.
Dedicate a quiet moment to assess your current situation.…
It is important to examine your attitude and where necessary seek feedback from others (preferably not your closest allies unless they are brutally honest like me) because you cannot do the same and stay the same and expect any real change. Take the feedback as it comes and commit to a new game plan. Take accountability for your actions and execute that new plan with such rigour that those around you may not be able to understand. During this shift or refocus, some friends or associates may pull away and trust me, that is okay once you remain respectful. Stop settling for average if your future plan calls for exceptional results.
Always remember that your attitude is like a price tag. It shows others how valuable you are!
As a business leader, I no longer hire for technical ability over attitude and fit. Both are now of equal importance and if I have to choose, rest assured attitude will win each and every time.
If you have taken the time to read this entire article, my hope is that you truly understand that your current attitude can determine your future. Attitude makes a big difference to your final outcome so be conscious of the fact that people hear your words but feel your attitude and ultimately that’s the real deciding factor…..