It takes a good attitude to be a good leader.

It takes a good attitude to be a good leader.

As a leader of people is easy to become weary to your bones after trying to convince a reticent organization, team or person to become a butterfly, when all they want to do is to stay in their nice safe cocoon. The forces lined up against you can be daunting. Don’t work against yourself by making your attitude part of the problem. Your attitude is one of your primary tools to lend credibility to your message and convince people to engage and befriend you. There are three attributes you need to consider managing immediately: negativism, sarcasm and partisanship.

Negativism is a habitual attitude of skepticism or resistance to the suggestions, order or instructions of others. This includes change and the belief that change is warranted or even possible. Leading change requires that you believe that you can succeed to motivate yourselves and those you are trying to influence. Without a belief that you can succeed, it will be difficult to get up in the morning and impossible to motivate others. I must at admit that I sometimes find that it is easy to confuse being highly rational with negativism. In the wee hours of the night make sure you evaluate which side of the line you are on and make corrections if you have strayed.

Behavior such as sarcasm might be acceptable amongst friends, but the impact of sarcasm is even less predictable when people do not know you or might have a different cultural filter are involved in the conversation. How many time have you heard “hey can’t they take a joke?” The answer is maybe not if it is apparently funny to their point of view. Frankly, just dropping sarcasm from your portfolio of communication techniques might be the best idea.

Another critical mistake that can be traced back to attitude is a need to have an enemy to strike against. Creating a “we/they” environment creates barriers between groups will make finding common ground more difficult. There are rarely benefits when one side is forced to capitulate to another (it difficult to compromise with someone you view as the enemy). You must recognize that as a leader and a negotiator your goal is to find the best solution for your organization.

Negativism, sarcasm and partisanship will minimize your effectiveness as a leader in the long run, and will add to the burden you need to shoulder in order to make change happen. Leading change is not an easy job. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Your attitude can either a simple powerful tool or concrete block to tow behind you.

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