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Want to Increase Productivity AND Employability? Adopt a Positive Attitude

Connie Podesta 12-17

One of the questions I’m asked most is “How do I KEEP my job?” The times have changed, that’s never been truer. Economies are shifting, markets seem on an ever-turning roller coaster and the ways in which we communicate are changing at the blink of an eye. While employers and corporate and sales leadership can teach people to do the job at hand and provide in-service training so employees can update their SKILLS – what they can’t do is mentor, teach or coach employees to have a positive attitude.

That’s why YOU have to be the one to commit to change. Working on your attitude daily and ensuring that you have a positive impact on your organization, customers, and colleagues is a vital key to your future employability. It’s tough for some company leaders to put their finger on though. When asked to define a positive attitude, many employers find it difficult to put into words what they mean. Instead, they use words like “happy” and “enjoyable to be around” when describing a person with a positive attitude. Since our attitude affects our behavior, which in turn is demonstrated by our performance, it’s no wonder that attitude is so important in the business world.

It determines how we do our jobs. Sure – some employees resist this notion. They take that “no one has the right to tell me how to think” attitude. And they’re right. No one does. Employers certainly do not have the right to evaluate our inner thoughts and feelings. However, what they do have a right to do is to evaluate how we behave in the workplace as a result of those thoughts and feelings. Employers and organizations also have the right to expect that an employee’s behavior and performance will have a positive impact upon their organization. Why? Attitudes are pervasive. They affect everything and everyone around them.

Think for a moment about an organization filled with employees with negative mindsets. Imagine the impact on their customers, community and co-workers. Doesn’t stand much of a chance at being in business for very long-does it? Now take the opposite. Organizations that put a high premium on a positive workplace – people happy to be where they are and do what they do – and eager to have a POSITIVE impact on each other, their customers and their community stand a much better chance of enjoying success (and surviving in today’s competitive world) than their negative counterparts.

So – how do you adopt the positivity that can make you invaluable to your organization? Let’s take a look at three powerful business strategies that can not only make you a more valuable employee or sales professional, but help you to lead a happier, healthier life!

1. Separate Attitudes from Actions: I hear it all the time. “Ugh! Connie – but it’s so HARD to have a positive attitude when I’m sad, depressed or angry!” I understand – we’re all human right? So we’re going to find ourselves in situations where we’re just not feeling happy. That doesn’t mean though that we can afford to let our internal feelings influence our actions. I mean think about it. Would you like your surgeon to be all thumbs because he was upset with his wife? Or a fireman to drive slowly when you called in an alarm because he was tired? Or your lawyer to argue your case poorly because she didn’t feel like talking today? Or the lifeguard to daydream about getting a new job instead of paying attention while your child was swimming? Of course not! Things aren’t always going to go as planned, but in today’s world of layoffs & downsizing, we have to be able to separate our attitudes from our actions. So “fake it ‘till you make it?”

Well, in a way, yes. When you’re on the job – be ON the JOB. (Take the philosophy of ‘you must be present to win!’) Focus on the ACTIONS that need to be accomplished to do your job to the BEST of your ability – not the least. There’s a funny thing that happens when you’re focused on productivity, on finishing task after task – it starts to affect your attitude. You feel more proficient, more part of the bigger picture – and that can help turn those negatives around as well. Your focus may very well earn you some respect among your peers and the positive praise of superiors –both of which are terrific attitude boosters too! So leave the troubles at the door and pay attention to the job at hand with a positive determination to do your best. You may be surprised at what a difference a day makes.

2. Steer Clear of Negative People. Attitudes – both negative and positive are contagious! Think for a moment about your own experiences. Ever have to work with a negative person? Can you remember how that affected your own attitude and performance that day? Even though you may love your job and you’re proud of the products and services you deliver, you probably felt that you and your organization weren’t doing their best. And if you had to work with a negative person for a long period of time, their poor attitude may have even made you want to quit your job. That’s how truly powerful a negative attitude can have on us. So steer clear! You don’t want that rubbing off on you do you?

Sure, crossing paths with some negative people in your workplace is impossible to avoid, but you don’t have to saddle up next to them for the duration. You can limit your interaction with them. You don’t have to make them part of the carpool, eat lunch with them or spend time after hours in their company. Negative people cast a pall on not only themselves – but those around them. So much so that good people can get caught in the wake of it and have it affect their reputation within an organization as well. Be mindful that doesn’t happen to you. Remember this -- part of your responsibility as a professional is to be the kind of employee that others are not trying to get away from, but rather, to be a positive person with whom they enjoy working and seek out.

3. Be Your Own Best Source of Motivation. Whether you realize it or not, your performance and that of your co-workers has the power to make or break an organization. While it might be easier to put that responsibility on your company and believe that it’s THEIR job to keep a motivated staff – the reality is that savvy leadership teams realize that motivation is “an inside job.” In other words – no one can motivate someone who is unwilling to motivate themselves, and there are simply too many people waiting in the wings ready, willing and able to take positions away from unmotivated employees for businesses to bother in many cases.

The truth is – employees should not have to be coddled or coerced into working hard and doing an excellent job. A valuable employee, the kind an organization would work hard to hire and retain, is happy to take on that responsibility themselves – and it shows.

The bottom line is that today’s employers are looking for employees who: • Want to work. • Enjoy what they do. • Take pride in their organization, their products, and their services.

• Care about their customers and their co-workers.

• Are the kind of team players others like to be around.

• Make work a better place by their good humor, dependability, integrity, and their ability to be a positive influence through their words and actions.

When you consider that employers around the globe believe that attitude is contagious. If that’s so, ask yourself this: Is yours worth catching?

To stay employed and valued in today’s world -- analyze your attitude and determine whether or not you’re helping to create a healthy work environment.

Do whatever possible to stand out from the rest and be easily recognized as an employee who has a positive influence on your customers, your colleagues, and your organization. Be mindful of how you start your day – present and focused – or filled with negativity.

By loving your job and playing your part well, your efforts will be rewarded with years of steady employment.


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