Attitude is one of my strengths, and I would not be where I am today if I did not show up with energy, with a purpose, and with the desire to be a good member of the teams, which I have been on in my life. A Harvard Business Review article listed positive and virtuous practices as:
Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends.
Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling.
Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes.
Inspiring one another at work.
Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work.
Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust & integrity.
Take a moment and reflect on the past few weeks at your workplace, and consider examples where people had a positive effect on the organization, the team, or just you as an individual. What was it that made the difference? It could be a cheery greeting, an offer to help with a project, an introduction they made for you with a complement about your abilities, or simply the way they respond to your questions and conversations.
Now, let’s reflect on those who seem to change the air (negatively) as they walk into a room. What are some things you notice about those people? Maybe it is the scowl they have on their face, letting you know they are not open to conversation. If you are brave enough to talk to them anyway, they give gruff one word answers, when you ask them how they are they respond with short responses, “grumpy!”, “I’d be better if I wasn’t in this meeting!”, “Don’t ask!”, or “What’s it to you?” Yes, you know these people, every workplace has them. Oddly, I find that many of these people are actually rather warm or nice when you really get to know them. Why, then, do they come off like this when they are greeted? Maybe they do not realize what a negative image they are truly projecting.
A few days ago, I was in a meeting and an introverted young lady along the side of the room asked to have a meeting with the key project managers to introduce them (and their projects) to the new head of finance in our division. Immediately, one of the female project managers began deriding her with peppered questions and comments, one after another, “Why do you want this meeting?”, “This is a waste of my time.”, “I have far too much to do.”, “How is this going the help?”, “I’m sick of meetings!”. This particular project manager is wicked intelligent and is at a place in our organization where she will either stagnate or grow to the executive position. I saw the way the head of our division looked at her, and the way everyone else looked at her. The young lady who initially asked to meet with us went silent, and looked like she may never speak up in a meeting again. I looked at them both, and pleasantly responded to the young lady that my team and I would be glad to meet with her and her supervisor, and then all the other project managers began doing the same, with the exception of that one.
In a future post, I will talk about some things you can do to correct behaviors that are harming your relationships in the workplace. In the meantime, pay attention to people and leaders in your organization that make you feel good, make you feel like part of the team, and then notice those who are not team players, who do not seem to realize (or care) that they are a walking storm cloud of negative emotion. Emulate those who you want to be around, who make you want to succeed.
Final thought: Be the attitude you want to be around. Why would anyone promote you if they do not even like you?