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An Organizational Attitude Checkup

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in Remarkable Leadership with Kevin Eikenberry

It happened again this week.

I was leading a workshop with leaders across an organization and the question came up about attitude. Specifically, I was asked several questions that, paraphrased, were basically this:

I have some attitude issues on my team — how can I improve the attitude of my team?

In the discussion of this issue in the group, I noticed a lot of talk about “those people” and “the whiners and complainers” in the group. Please know that I’m not picking on this group — they are smart folks who are serious about becoming more effective leaders. And they aren’t the first group that I’ve had this type of conversation with!

I too get tired of whiners and complainers. These people are energy-draining, but this isn’t just an issue of being pleasant or comfortable.

We know that when people are whining, complaining, disgruntled, frustrated and cynical that they can’t possibly be as productive (or happy) as they could be. And we know that their attitude and thinking is like a virus — it is easily caught by those around them.

How much of this virus is present in your organization, on your team and in your office? In other words — how prevalent is this virus in your workplace?

And more importantly, is this the virus you are spreading?

If any negativity exists at all, what you are doing to combat it, lessen its impact or exterminate it completely?

Because it all starts with you.

If you don’t think or believe that it starts with you, then I would bet a big check that you are probably spreading the wrong virus (whether you know it or not).

If you take your role as a leader seriously, you must think about your attitude regularly. I know that we are all human — mistakes happen, bad things come to pass and other things occur that make us frustrated and perhaps make it easier for us to have a foul mood. 

Yet if you want to lead in the best possible way, you need to keep that stuff to yourself or find a place (away from your team) to share it. An occasional burst of venting, identified as such to those around you, may be OK — and help others to see you as human — but as a leader you must realize that ongoing complaining, harping, whining, etc. (etc.) is not only a detriment to you, but will be spread throughout your team faster than you can imagine.

Bluntly put, if you don’t have the attitude on your team that you want, look in the mirror. Your example is what people are watching. And any chance you have of giving others feedback on their attitude will be pretty ineffective if you aren’t living what you are asking them to live.

If you don’t like whiners, make sure you aren’t one before lamenting about the problem. Next week I will give you some very specific things you can do to work on your attitude. I’ll see you back here then.

Note: If you would like to learn more about bringing me or my team into your organization to help develop your leaders, fill out the form here or call Barb at 317-387-1424 x4.

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