Do you have a bad attitude? I’m not suggesting always, but sometimes? Most people do. It’s hard not to when things are going bad. Besides, you’re only human, and you deserve the occasional off day.
That said, as a leader, when your attitude stinks, it quickly rubs off on your employees. If everybody’s in a funk, productivity is going to sink. So, while you may want to sulk, complain and take your feelings out on other people, you can’t. Instead, you need to learn how to deal with your attitude problem, by following this advice:
- Do some soul searching. What situations, topics or people tend to negatively affect your attitude? Which are the most severe? Think about your answers to these questions and write them down. The first step to overcoming anything is to identify what it is.
- Take some accountability. Ask yourself, “What about this situation is in my control?” Regardless of the situation, one thing is always in your control: your response to it. No one else and no external situation causes you to be negative, sad or cynical. Admittedly, some situations may be difficult to deal with. Still, remember your attitude is always in your control. Take full responsibility for how you react and respond when the going gets tough.
- Examine your assumptions. Often your reaction to a situation or a person is built around your assumptions. Is the situation really as it appears? Are you assuming things that may not be true? Are you projecting your own feelings on the situation? When you stop assuming, you see a situation for what it really is and that can make it easier to stomach.
- Avoid what’s bringing you down. Perhaps the simplest answer, and something that may well be in your control, is to avoid the situation or person that is affecting your mood if you can. You won’t always be able to do that, but when you can, do it. For example, if the morning drive gets your blood boiling, take the train to work instead. If the rush in the morning leaves you stressed, wake up 30 minutes earlier. Even small changes can have a big impact.
- Face negativity when you are in a better state of mind. If that one coworker or client always rubs you the wrong way, don’t meet with the person when you are busy, rushed or hungry. Before the meeting, take a few minutes to relax, have a cup of tea or coffee, do some breathing exercises, take a walk or whatever else will settle your nerves.
- Don’t take it personally. It isn’t about you. Most of the time, it really isn’t. You may take it personally or find the situation so important that you can’t pull yourself out of it. However, the reality is most of the time others are far more focused on themselves and their issues than on you. When you personalize the topic, situation or negative energy, you make it hard to respond in a positive way. Let it go. It likely isn’t about you.
Your attitude is completely in your control. When you find yourself in a tough situation, remind yourself of that. Take a deep breath, and remember that you can choose your response and your attitude. Choose wisely.
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