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It is all in the Attitude

Your attitude is either your best friend or your worst enemy, your greatest asset or your greatest liability. ~John Maxwell 

Last week on a wet, cold day, I took advantage of an opportunity to grow my team’s leadership abilities. I brought together all my landscape services employees and we discussed attitude and the role it plays when working on the front line. Is it important? Does attitude really matter and why?   

We started the exercise by writing down the name of someone we greatly admire and explaining why. Close to 70% of my team said someone in their family; the majority were dads. A few named coaches, teachers and even a co-worker. Why did they admire this person? Most said it was something about their character, personality, values or the way they treated or made them feel. No one said it was because of the education the person had or the title they held. The exercise revealed that we admire who the person is – how they make us feel or how they show they care about us. In other words, it is the person’s attitude that plays a big part in why we admire them.   

We worked through some questions like, “Can I make my attitude toward my job and co-workers better?” and “Can I work to make it stronger, even more likable?” The short answer is yes, but it does take some planning and a willingness to grow. A lot of our attitude comes from how we see ourselves and how we respond and react to our circumstances. We decided that one way to grow a more positive attitude is to lose the excuses we tell ourselves. For instance, believing we have no say in our future or how we act. Yes, we can’t always control what happens to us, but we can decide how we will respond to it. Although attitude is extremely important in the workplace, we discussed that being able to learn and do the job with excellence is also very important. We can be positive and encouraging in what we say, but if we don’t perform our tasks well, we can, in the end, hurt the team.   

As we wrapped up our sessions, we landed on some key positive and negative elements about attitude. We decided that some of the negative attitudes were being a “know it all,” doing the work away from the team as a “lone wolf” and being moody. A few of the positive elements were being coachable, listening and being a mentor to others.   

Attitudes, like plants, come in all shapes and sizes. Some make the environment beautiful, livable and productive. Others will choke out the good. How do you plant and nurture the positive attitude seeds on your team? Thinking it is important does not make it so. Be a great leader and invite someone in to plant these seeds on your team. Then water it, feed it and watch it grow. Attitude matters and is every bit as important as that to-do list.   

“The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor.~ I Corinthians 3:8 

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