Attitude is the most important trait among the people in your organization.
Attitude is a game-changer. If you populate your organization with people who are positive, they will lift others and lead them to excel. On the other side of the equation, negative people can drain the energy out of everyone around them. Negative people in an organization can kill your chances of success.
I am not recommending that you want a staff made up of people who are irrationally positive all the time – artificially upbeat cheerleaders who have no grounding in practical business. I am saying that you want resilient people who adopt a strongly positive yet realistic point of view when facing business challenges and setbacks. Those will be the same people who will look for ways to make things even better in times when everything seems to be going well.
Negativism kills. You can talk to some very skilled people who will say, “I know that everything seems to be going well right now, but I am waiting for the other shoe to drop . . . here are a few negative things that are bound to happen, and things will then get worse.”
Although it is good to look ahead and anticipate future problems, you want people who are going to be positive, who are going to realistically inspire others. And when people are inspired, they will perform better and your enterprise will prosper.
Evaluate and Compare Employee Attitudes
Ron Willingham, the author of Integrity Selling for the 21st Century and other excellent books, has devised a very simple way to evaluate the effect of attitude on team members:
- First, evaluate the person’s expertise – how much he or she knows – on a scale of 1 to 10.
- Second, evaluate his or her experience – how long has he or she been doing this kind or work – again on a scale of 1 to 10.
- Third, assess his or her attitude on a scale of 1 to 10.
- Fourth, add together the numbers from the first two steps, and multiply the result by the number from the third step.
- Employee A rates an 8 in expertise, an 8 in experience, and a 2 in attitude. Her overall score is then 16. [(8+8) x 2 = 16]
- Employee B rates a 2 in expertise, a 4 in experience, and an 8 in attitude. His overall score is then 48. [(2+4) x 8 = 48]
Willingham’s approach reflects the fact that you can hire someone who has skills relevant to your needs and years of experience, but who will still not create value for you if he or she has a negative attitude.
If you hire someone who has a can-do attitude and very little experience, he or she can have the potential to be much more productive than a negative employee with far greater experience and skill.
To Learn More . . .
I invite you to explore more ways to build employee ingagement by reading my new book Ingaging Leadership.