If youve got a good one, chances are you brighten other peoples day. If youve got a bad one, you may be alienating colleagues at work and even your friends. And a bad one may be costing you a promotion or appointment to a new position. Its all about attitudes.
Studies have shown that people want to be with those who have a good attitude, Pam Wyess told participants in her Human Resource Development (HRD) class May 27. In fact, for some employers, a good attitude is sometimes a more important consideration than skills. You can train for skills, but its difficult to work a bad attitude.
Wyess, who learned a lot about attitudes and how they can affect ones life during 11 years with the Ann Arbor Police Department, now shares that background with others through the HRD course, The Choice Is Yours: An Introduction to Attitudes in the Workplace.
Attitude has a lot to do with interpersonal communications, self-esteem and your perceptions of others and theirs of you. Yes, youre going to have bad days, but you should give thought to your attitude and try to focus on the positive, Wyess said. A good attitude makes you feel better. Others see this and judge you by that. People want to work in an upbeat environment, and attitudes play an important role in shaping the work environment.
Your attitude is communicated to others in three ways, Wyess explained7 percent by words, 38 percent by tone of voice and 55 percent in non-verbal ways, such as posture.
All of us, at one time or another, express the three different types of attitudes: positive, negative and neutral. Those with a neutral attitude are sometimes the most challenging to deal with, Wyess noted, defining those individuals as spectators in the game of life. We often try to avoid contact with those carrying a negative attitude, the critics of the game of life. And we are drawn to those with a positive attitude, the players of the game of life.
A positive attitude doesnt just happen, Wyess noted. Its something you have to work at all the time.
So how do you adjust your attitude toward the positive and maintain that attitude?
Listen to yourself talk and listen to the voice within, Wyess said. You have to pursue happiness. It wont come knocking. You have to find the good things in each day, and you have to stop shooting yourself, stop berating yourself for something that didnt work quite right.
Thomas Edison, once asked what it took to discover the light bulb, said it was a thousand-step process. But he didnt look at that as a negative, Wyess noted. Something new was learned at each step. Insanity, she added, comes from doing the same thing over and over again, expecting new results but getting the same results.
Evaluate your should dos and translate them to to dos, Wyess advised.
To maintain that sunny disposition, try starting each day with a pep talk to yourself; make it a habit to enjoy the good moments; express, rather than suppress, your feelings; and surround yourself with a positive environment, by decorating your home or office with things that give you pleasure.
You control your attitudes, Wyess said, citing the familiar, He makes me so mad! No one can make you anything. You make the choices. When a situation arises that prompts this kind of reaction, consider the source and put it in perspective, Wyess advised, adding that you should not give power to the person who frustrates you. Regardless of what happens to you, its what you do that is the issue.
OK. Youve mastered maintaining a sunny disposition most of the time. But how do you deal with those around you with negative or neutral attitudes?
Its really a matter of determining how much it bothers you, said Pam Wyess, outlining a five-step process for those attending Human Resource Developments course on The Choice Is Yours: An Introduction to Attitudes in the Workplace.