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Choose the Right Attitude

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in Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Imagine an athlete who trains as a diver for 11 years, five hours a day, to make the Olympics. After finally qualifying for the Olympic trials, she suddenly suffers eye trouble. She needs immediate surgery to save her sight. Her diving career comes to an abrupt end.

That’s what happened to Deborah Bright, author of On the Edge and In Control (McGraw-Hill, 1998). Rather than wallow in pity, Bright got over feeling cheated and took control of her life. Now a business coach, she teaches managers to defuse stress and communicate with clarity and enthusiasm.

Her book focuses on the deceptively simple theme of taking responsibility for your actions. Bright avoids rah-rah motivation in favor of presenting concrete steps to gain confidence and resilience. For example, she identifies four “attitude types” to help managers diagnose themselves and their co-workers:

Negativists complain and trade bad news. These do-nothing cynics knock leaders and love to say “I told you so.” They use criticism as a weapon and rarely express a bold or original opinion.

Entitlists always wonder what’s in it for them. They feel they’re owed a raise, promotion or special treatment. They rarely thank others or acknowledge team accomplishments. They like to point out what they “deserve,” even if they haven’t earned it.

Superficial optimists smile their way into oblivion. They drown out bad news and shy away from offering any constructive criticism—preferring to see everything through rose-colored glasses.

Pro-achievers embody Bright’s winners. They embrace reality, produce results and overcome adversity by adopting a flexible attitude.

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