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Leaders – Let’s Talk Attitude

OK a few of you already shut down this article. Another message about attitude and your head will explode, right? Think again. Hang with me a minute.

I don’t want to talk about ‘how attitude creates altitude’ (although I do believe that). No, instead I want to share several of the more common attitudes I encounter from managers I coach.

People ask me to become their coach because they want to make a change. Maybe it has to do with the way they manage people. Or perhaps it is because the company agreed to hire coaches for its top leaders; the slate is wide open there. Yet again, small business founders/owners hire me to help them figure out next steps in their business.

Ironically, all situations start with something in common. The owner/executive I am dealing with has an attitude. Call it their default mode. Whether intentional or not, people leading small teams and business units have an attitude.

The real question becomes “Is your attitude the right one for the situation or does IT need to change first?”

What Do I mean?

Exactly which attitudes do I mean? There are several recurring ones we can focus on. Plus I’ve included more recent mindsets that are driven by the COVID workforce responses too.

I present these in no particular order.

First, we need to be together as a team to maximize collaboration.

This single thread mindset is blatantly false. Since the early months of pandemic lockdown, countless organizations have figured out how to collaborate via remote working. Would you prefer to be together? Sure. But is it essential for real collaboration? No.

My basic question for managers who believe this one is “have you looked at actual productivity numbers since COVID began?” In most cases I’ve worked, the truth is that productivity has increased. People are not interrupted by the Chatty Cathy or Witty William telling mindless jokes in the middle of the workplace. Instead, people are focused on doing what they’ve been asked to do.

Managers who schedule huddles for intentional collaboration efforts and team cross-talk are winning the day.

I know what my team needs. There aren’t any new ideas.

Yes, I have actually heard this one. Several times. How sad. I’m guessing people who work for this type of manager are pretty uninspired. This is such a close minded view of things.

There are always new ideas to explore. The old ways of doing things may work at some level, but new employees should be bringing new life and energy to your team. Don’t shut them down so quickly.

More Examples

Next, “No, I don’t have a vision. The company tells me what we need to do.”

Leaders who fail to cast a vision really aren’t leading at all. It has been written “without a vision, people perish.” I believe that.

Regardless of your position in the organization, you should design a vision for your team or unit. The lack of specific vision may be more common in larger corporate settings versus the small business/entrepreneur. In small business the owner always has some idea of where they are going. For them, the question is more about whether they have clearly structured the vision instead of letting it be a large disorganized mess in their head.

Either way, creating a clear picture of where you want to go helps direct everyone’s effort to get there. As Stephen R. Covey said, “Begin with the end in mind.”

Pride of Ownership

This attitude occurs more commonly with entrepreneurs. They are proud of what they have built. On one hand that is rightfully deserved. But on the other hand, it can become toxic.

Hold on too tightly to that pride of ownership and you run the risk of alienating good people on your team. The idea you started with and the way you got it going may not be the answers to the future of your business. You need to be open to change.

As a small business grows, the natural stages of evolution require various advanced thinking by the owner/founder. Too often the founder fails to realize the need for these changes.

What is Your Attitude?

Take a moment and ask yourself the questions, do I have any dominating attitudes about my leadership, my role or my team? You might be surprised at what you discover.

Better yet, ask your team for feedback on those questions. Share your thoughts here. Leave a comment.

If you’d like to explore ways you can adjust those attitudes, I offer a free discovery call.

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