But beware; you can burn out a ‘can-do’ person by overwhelming them
(Editor's note: This is Part 3 of a 10-part series examining the building blocks of effective L.E.A.D.E.R.S.H.I.P. This time? A = attitude.)
"A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” --Herm Albright
There’s nothing more destructive of our first two l.e.a.d.e.r.s.h.i.p. building blocks -- loyalty and excellence -- than a bad attitude.
Attitude is an unarguable characteristic of successful leadership and superior performance, and for many reasons. On one side, a positive attitude is a breath of fresh air to which we naturally gravitate.
It is usually accompanied by a can-do attitude, a commitment to excellence, a desire to be a collaborative teammate, a willingness to take on new challenges in foreign environments, a general approach that sees the glass half-full rather than half-empty.
No challenge is too great because a positive attitude is the sorcerer of the unbridled optimism that helps us overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It also a magnet for new opportunities and as we know, success is achieved when opportunity meets excellence.
On the other side, a bad attitude is a lethal virus that undermines a collaborative culture. You will meet a successful executive with a bad attitude about as often as you'll see someone taking her cat for a walk. If that rare occasion occurs, be sure to run the other way because it’s contagious and an unambiguous confirmation of an organization you don't want to join.
A bad attitude has a long life with great visibility. Even the body language of someone with a bad attitude sours the air for everyone in the vicinity. Such individuals are always complaining, think they're the only ones getting the most boring tasks, feel under-appreciated, undervalued and underpaid; and are the last to volunteer for anything that's inconvenient.
A common corollary is embedded in a phrase you’ve probably heard -- and witnessed on many occasions: “Ask a busy person to do something and they always have time. The person with nothing to do is always too busy."
That’s really about the difference in attitude. Those with a positive attitude are always willing to try, to do more and to serve those around them. An individual with a bad attitude rejects anything outside of the routine and relishes the completion of his own work. He never has enough time to perform his basic tasks and avoids all else.
Attitude is at the top of my list when I'm interviewing job candidates. There is no more predictive characteristic of success, and certainly no more convincing indicator of someone you want on your team, regardless of any deficiencies they may have.
It’s very rare to find someone with a positive attitude who isn't good at something important to your organization's success. So inevitably, that person will find a meaningful role in your organization. That one is adaptable, willing to change, go the extra mile, help out a struggling colleague, do all of things that are the fuel of a collaborative environment.