The prevailing attitude in the workplace can create the conditions needed for innovative growth, or it can lead to a toxic environment where new ideas are unwelcome. The willingness to embrace doing things in a new way and adopting a positive mindset in regards to experimentation are both crucial for a positive attitude in today’s business world.
Leaders are expected to be problem solvers, but no one leader can do everything alone. Effective leaders must inspire others to want to solve these problems, and they should encourage employees to also think outside the box. A leadership style that is harsh, constantly negative and rigid is not conducive to collaboration and instead will likely lead employees to pursue other avenues of employment. Leaders should assess themselves first--are you behaving in a manner that will positively impact those around you?
LOOK IN THE MIRROR TO ASSESS YOUR ATTITUDE
It is an uncomfortable reality that we may avoid taking a close look at how we interact with others, and instead just assume that everything is fine. Neuroscience pertaining to self-awareness and attitude has helped us understand how our brains work, largely thanks to advanced imaging techniques.
Several research studies indicate that while likely not the only area of the brain involved, the prefrontal cortex is a vital part of self-awareness. Imaging studies that have focused on identifying self-awareness have had mixed results, indicating that our knowledge is incomplete. The general consensus seems to be that self-awareness requires prefrontal lobes that are healthy and functioning, and future technology will undoubtedly unveil more answers.1
A healthy brain is needed to look in the mirror and determine if your attitude is helping or hindering progress at work. Understanding your strengths and weaknesses will help you support others on their journey of self-discovery.
“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.”
John C. Maxwell
FOUR WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR ATTITUDE
Attitude is one of those areas where there is always some room for improvement. While leaders can’t sustain optimism every waking moment of the day, you’ve probably had situations where a more positive attitude would have been helpful. If so, consider these tips.
You versus everything. Sometimes it seems like the world is against you. This feeling of dread can be difficult to shake when things don’t work out. The many variables in life, from money to health issues, can bring even a strong person down. When moments like this inevitably occur, try to focus on gratitude and shift your thinking away from negativity.
Know when to stop. If you can’t fix it, let it go. Some situations will cause worry and anxiety, but if you have no control, you have to learn to let it go. Having an open mind will help you resist change and recognise that in some cases, you may have to take a different path or direction.
Don’t let others bring you down. The great accomplishments of the past, like the Great Pyramids or the moon landing would never have come about if the people involved hadn’t dared to dream big. Naysayers are always going to present, but have confidence in your ability to lead others, even if your methods are deemed unusual by managers who subscribe to the “good old days”.
Have the courage to lead. Don’t be afraid to lead the way. You can either be the leader following the crowd or the leader that is driving the crowd. An attitude that embraces change and sees opportunities in situations rather than threats will help you increase innovation and agility.
Technology and science will continue to increase our understanding of how our brains function, and what deficits we may see in behaviour when our brains aren’t in top condition. Taking the time to reflect on how you lead and your leadership methods will have a positive impact on your attitude, inspiring others to create and achieve more.
1. Morin A. A Neurocognitive and Socioecological Model of Self-Awareness. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs. 2004;130(3):197-222.