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Your Attitude Is A Choice March 25, 2008

Posted by Chuck Musciano in Leadership.
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As leaders, everything we do is scrutinized. How we do everything we do is cataloged and noted. Our demeanor is infectious and our whole organization will adopt our attitude, good or bad.

For passionate leaders, this is a problem. Passion usually cuts both ways: passionately optimistic, and passionately perturbed. We want our people to be passionate, but we want to infect them with the right kind of passion.

One of the coaching points I have with new managers is the concept that they must choose their attitude, every day. Their choice influences their people, whose ability to execute ultimately decides the fate of the manager.

At work (and in all of life) there is an ebb and flow of good and bad. Our natural emotions will oscillate as a result. As leaders, we must consciously choose to suppress the negative emotions and emphasize the positive, without regard to our personal feelings at the time. This is not to say that we must adopt a Pollyannish approach to every problem at work. Instead, we must project controlled optimism even in the face of difficult odds or troublesome problems. If you believe a problem can be solved (and you better, or you’ve got other issues to deal with), you need to dwell on the solution, not on the effects of the problem. This gets your people focusing on the solution instead of wallowing in self-pity and fear.

Some leaders love to wail about things in public, going on about the difficulties being faced and the unfairness of it all. These people aren’t leaders; they are whiners. They love the attention of being pitied and seek the sympathy of their audience. Pity and sympathy may make you feel good, but they never solved a problem.

If you really need to explore the negative aspects of a problem, do it in private with a few trusted peers. You must have an accurate handle on the challenges you face, and you can only do that by honestly assessing how deep a hole you may be in. That assessment is done behind closed doors. When the door opens, you choose how to carry yourself. Good leaders choose to be strong, optimistic, and positive.

In troubled times, the team looks to the leader for direction, both subtle and overt. Your chosen attitude will spell the difference between success and failure for you and your team. Choose wisely.

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