Poor Attitude

Do people like to associate with you? Do people often seek you out for your advice, perspective or help? If not, you may have a Career Killer known as a "Poor Attitude". So what is a poor attitude? Read on...

In its most simplistic form, a poor attitude is often associated with cynicism, negativity or insouciance. In other words, if you are always seen to be down and negative, chances are people will not be seeking you out. Similarly, if you are regularly heard to state that you "don't care" or "its not my problem", then it is unlikely that you will be asked to help solve someone else's problem.

I have heard the statement that senior leadership teams are often seen as "old boys clubs" and there is some truth to this. So not withstanding the "boys" part, what would cause people to invite you into their club? Would they be seeking out someone who is negative? Who doesn't seem to care? Or who always has something sarcastic to say about any new initiative or idea? Chances are no. So what is your attitude?

I am not suggesting that anyone be blind to problems, issues or fail to raise tough questions. I detest sycophants and believe that all true leaders do as well. This has much more to do with the "how", as in how to raise issues so as to influence an outcome. Someone who is eager and honest, energized and constructive will always be seen as the "go to guy" and a good guy to have on the team.

We all have bad days at the office. But if every day is a bad day and it is impacting your mood, outlook and contribution - chances are that a change will be required in order for you to truly fulfill your career potential.

As someone once said to me, "It is easy to train for skills and educate for knowledge, but the a Can Do Attitude is something that an individual carries with him". In other words, people hire for attitude and train them in the skills they need.

So - what can you do if you feel cynical and negative all the time. I think a first step is to acknowledge this and consciously try to see the situation from a different perspective. What are some of the possible benefits? How might this positively impact the organization in the short term? How about the long term? Is this a strategic decision that may have some short term costs? Rather than assume that you know the reason for a decision, who can you ask to have it explained?

At the end of the day, few people with a pervasive negative attitude will get ahead, regardless of how competent they may be. It is the ultimate in covert career killers.


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