The good-old adage from real estate investors – what are the three top things to look for in a property before investing? Of course Location, Location, Location. So, what are the three things to value most in an employee, a co-worker, a boss? Attitude, Attitude, Attitude – oh yes a right attitude!
Far too many times we make judgements based on qualifications, experience, even backgrounds. But don’t these pale into insignificance when working with a colleague or boss who does not exhibit the right behaviours? Give me someone with a positive approach to work and I’ll train them if they lack the right skills. But give me a highly skilled worker with a rotten attitude and I’ll return them to you with thanks. I couldn’t summarise my viewpoint better that what an article published in the Harvard business review put it as, “Hire for attitude, train for skill”.
It is easy to spot a dissatisfied person, just watch them in a team meeting. Their contributions will nearly always have some of these – “not my call but…”, “ sorry but just flagging this issue…” , “in my previous workplace it was so much better…”. On the contrary a person with good attitude will want to be part of a solution rather than a problem. No, I am not condoning the ‘Ostriches’ who want to be positive for the sake of it and leave others to solve burning issues. But is there not a happy medium?
Having worked with and closely observing the winners and losers in corporate world for almost two decades, here’s my take on what we can do to be the ones who shine through for our good attitude.
Focus on issues not on people:
You will be highly valued in a workplace if you can learn to focus on a problem without blaming and hurting the people who knowingly or unknowingly created the problem. A person with right mindset is graceful enough to keep names out when describing an issue. Keep your eye firmly fixed on the facts and most importantly decouple legacy from truth. We may be naturally inclined to give a clean chit to our “friend” for making a mistake but crucify those we don’t get along with for the same error. Don’t fall foul of favouritism, it just damages credibility and trust.
Forgive me for using this overused statement “Change is the only constant”, but I don’t know how to say this any better. If you are part of a growing organisation then there surely is an element of change involved in your area of work. Most people who we see “flagging issues” are really saying they don’t like change. The sooner you learn to embrace change and be a valuable contributor to organisational change, the faster you will see yourself climbing the success ladder. Very sadly the reverse is also true.
Swap criticism with solutions:
Rarely do we see critics rising the ranks. They sure do a good job in the “shadow cabinet” but you won’t see them in the ruling party. Next time you start going all hot under the collar about a problem, pause and think. Could you possibly focus your energies on coming up with a solution? Again, I have seen many seemingly highly skilled persons missing an opportunity of their lifetime because they gave too much importance to the issue rather than searching for a resolution.
It’s time we all reflect on our attitudes and mindsets and take corrective action where required. Let’s face it, it’s most likely you will be remembered for your attitude – good or bad. I sure want to be associated with the former.