The Five Things That Can Help You Succeed: the Attitude Edition
The information is ubiquitous: our attitudes color how we see the world, how we respond to stimuli, and can even affect our health. So how can we cultivate the kind of attitude that helps us succeed at work? Here are five attitude factors to consider:
- Expectations of Your Own Performance: Expectations are one of the most significant factors governing our views in outcomes. If our expectations are narrow, this can be very damaging. Any outcome that falls outside this very acute angle of possibilities could be considered a failure, even if the actual outcome contains high quality performance, finished tasks, happy customers, and even good profit! Cultivating an inner high and broad set of expectations can lead to a more free, creative, and successful outcome overall.
- Managing the Expectations of Others: The same, essentially, holds true for managing the expectations of coworkers, leaders in the work environment, and customers. This doesn’t always mean underbidding and over-delivering; rather, being clear in your intentions and communicating proactively can be the difference between a seamless interaction and an all-out firestorm. When you bring integrity to your attitude, you’re automatically beginning to manage others’
- Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff (and yes, it’s all small stuff): Okay, so some things are actually a Really Big Deal. But there’s a very real opportunity to bring good attitude to the table, even when things are falling apart. You’ve got several choices when a situation’s heating up: you can pass the buck by trying to place blame (let’s not do that), you can commiserate (a little of this can help, but use it sparingly), or you can state the problem as you see it, and welcome solutions. By remaining in a solutions-based frame of mind, your attitude transforms from one of crisis to one of superhero: things might be bad right now, but we’re going to figure out how to fix them. This attitude can be infectious, too: if you or one of your coworkers can maintain a solutions-based attitude, it can spread to the rest of the team, and a solution will be found faster.
- Be Open to Learning New Things: It can be a real challenge to admit you don’t know the answer to something. But I have a different take on this: it’s completely okay to not know the answer. What’s not okay is being unwilling to admit that you don’t know, or to go out and learn the answer. Learning keeps our minds flexible; the more open to learning we are, the better we are at learning. It’s cyclical, and being open to learning makes you easier to collaborate with, a better idea-gathering partner, and can help you find innovative solutions while those not so open to learning are still standing around scratching their heads.
- Think Before You React: It’s the simplest one, but still one of the most important. Take three deep, slow breaths before you push send on that email. Take a moment to put yourself in your recipient’s shoes. Do you come off flippant or dismissive? Do you sound whiny or demanding? You probably don’t mean to. Taking the time (a couple of seconds, really) to breathe through your thought can drastically improve your communication, and help you (and those around you) maintain a winning attitude.