Attitude is Everything

James Citrin is a well-known executive recruiter, career coach, and author of several informative books including one on our recommended reading list, The First 90 Days. In his book called The Career Playbook, he offers advice to aspiring professionals. One thing he mentions is that “Nothing is more important than a positive attitude.” Citrin rightly states that no matter the situation you find yourself in, your attitude is the one thing you can control.  And let’s face it, we all like to be around others with a positive attitude. If you look at your own experience, you’d probably agree that when a new person joins your team and displays a very positive outlook, it is a breath of fresh air.

We’re not telling you anything you don’t already know. But here is an interesting observation. We have tracked results for the Clifton Strengths Assessment of the military officers in our program for the last 17 years. Would you believe that the trait we see least often is Positivity? Less than 4% have this trait in their top 5! According to Gallup, the organization that manages the assessment, people exceptionally talented in the Positivity theme have contagious enthusiasm. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

We are not in a position to explain why this trait is uncommon.  But it tells us that there may be more than one person out there who would benefit from some advice. It may be a difference maker for you when you enter a new organization or if you are interviewing for a new role. If you want to get off to a great start, your attitude can make all the difference in the world.

We all know a good attitude in a person when we see it. There are some obvious indicators such as someone who smiles, is courteous and enthusiastic, doesn’t complain or speak ill of decisions or other people, etc. But how about the other less obvious signals you might not have realized are important indicators of a positive attitude? Here’s a list of 12 things to consider as other indicators of someone with positivity.

  1. Show up on time.
  2. Be the first one to offer a greeting when engaging with other people.
  3. Listen attentively when in a meeting, whether one-on-one or in a large group.  It doesn’t hurt to nod your head in agreement.
  4. Don’t embarrass other people by calling attention to their mistakes.
  5. Say “Yes” more often.
  6. Be inquisitive and ask thoughtful questions.
  7. Volunteer for things.  Consider no task too small.
  8. Ask for opportunities to learn.
  9. Ask for feedback from others.
  10. Look for ways to compliment or congratulate others (“I loved how you . . .”, “I enjoyed hearing how they . . .”, etc.)
  11. Don’t use negative body language (crossing arms, hand covering your face, shaking your head, etc.).
  12. Sprinkle your communications with positive adjectives.

Being positive isn’t just a means to an end such as getting a promotion or winning an interview. Trying to show positivity (even if a little forced at first) will reduce stress in your own hectic life. It can help keep you healthy and resilient to life’s turmoils.