The workplace, in my experience, boils down to focusing on two things: attitude and execution. Generally, these walk hand in hand. Having the right attitude can absolutely help you execute better. If you execute well, by definition, you’re succeeding at your job.
But what exactly is a great work attitude? Are there beliefs/actions that are transportable across different organizations and industries?
I think there are and would suggest striving to develop an attitude that incorporates these three ideas:
In a documentary about Michael Jackson, “This is It!” they asked him how he had been so successful. He said, without hesitation, “I work hard at being easy to work with!”
And it’s true, as much of Jackson’s success was the result of working with dozens of collaborators.
So, think about that! If MJ with all his talent can work at it, maybe so should you!
So on Monday, ask a few coworkers, “Be honest, am I easy to work with?” Then, follow-up with, “What could I do that would make me easier to work with?”
Be ready to hear some answers you might not like. No one wants to hear “listen better,” “be more direct in communication,” or, “be better prepared for meetings.” All things I’ve been told. But guess what? Because I now know what to focus on, I’ve gotten better at all of them.
The want to know what is holding you back from being easier to work with is the first step to being that worker. Same is valid for working with customers/clients.
Early in my career, I saw problems everywhere and thought it my job to communicate them wherever possible. It wasn’t.
Worse, I would bring up these problems without any potential solution. This, I learned, sounds whiny.
I also thought that being intense and driven was the same as being positive. It isn’t. It’s draining and not much fun to be around.
I’ve found that adopting an attitude that overlooks the obvious problems (that everyone knows are there) while championing the good being done and the people that do them is the best attitude to have.
I also like sticking up for people who aren’t around to defend themselves. “Throwing someone under the bus” is bad business.
But, if I do find a problem I can’t let go of, I make sure I have a potential solution to go with it when I bring it up.
Basically, it boils down to always knowing your audience and being succinct when speaking up. That’s what great executives do. Being a loose (or rambling) cannon is not a good thing. Plus, being quiet can actually make you seem smart and thoughtful.
As Mark Twain said, “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.”
A filter I was taught to use in meetings was this one:
This works well and keeps me surprisingly quiet most of the time. Plus, amazingly, most of what needs to be said gets said.
Having a great attitude is table stakes for success. The better your attitude, the better your Mondays!