As a leader, you set the tone for the work environment and impact the attitudes of those with whom you interact. Your personal attitude and the way you interact with others greatly influence the lives of those around you, especially employees and customers. Choosing your state of mind further impacts your motivation level, choices made, habits, overall demeanor, and how you show up in life.
State of Mind
Your state of mind is a choice that drives how you approach situations at work and determines to a great extent your overall success as a leader and the results of those you lead.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you unhappy or negative at work?
- Do you trust your employees and your boss?
- Are you critical and judgmental of employees and coworkers?
- Are you resentful of anyone at work?
- Do you accept responsibility when things go wrong or place blame and make excuses?
- Are you angry or hurt about something?
- Do you feel trapped in the past or future by something?
- Are you waiting for others to take the first step?
- Do you feel like things happen to you like you are the victim of circumstances out of your control?
- Do you blame other leaders or departments for failure at work?
If the answer to any of these questions is “yes” you would benefit by adjusting your attitude. You could be living your life in a state of unconsciousness, where you allow yourself to be caught in the effect of things going on around you. This is what the professional leadership development organization, Rapport Leadership International, would call living in effect. Comparing it to a sporting event, are you the person watching from the bleachers, on the sideline, or are you in the game making things happen? It is up to you to get in the game and bring about the results you desire.
Living in the Cause
Leaders who live in a “cause” state of mind make a conscious choice to act in the manner they choose, controlling their behaviors, voice tones, and actions. They make things happen at work, rather than allow themselves to get angry, hurt, frustrated, bored, negative, or resentful.
If you think about it, a good portion of your life is spent living on autopilot or drifting through the motions of habits and past behaviors. Leaders who stay conscious when facing challenges and resolving problems make a far greater impact, especially when approached with a positive “can-do” attitude. Expect good things to happen, and watch how quickly everything comes together.
The same is true with people. When interacting with employees, customers, and vendors, look for the good in them, allow differences, and expect positive results. Be passionate and show enthusiasm with everyone you interact with and they will respond in kind. Couple your enthusiasm with the vision of where the company is going and watch how inspired others become when they are around you.
Leaders living in “cause” are not only responsible for their work output; they accept accountability when things don’t go well for employees under their direction. They are quick to reward and recognize the positive accomplishments of others. They are willing to step out on the “skinny branches” at work, taking needed risks to grow the business and better serve customers.
Choose how you respond at work when things don’t go well and turn a discouraging, challenging situation into an opportunity with a new way of seeing things. We all know the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. When you live in “cause” you consciously change your approach to bring about better results. All a sudden there is no need to place blame or make excuses, by accepting responsibility and reframing how you react, you bring about a more meaningful result. It’s funny how those who give more in relationships and at work, seem to gain more as well. Be the kind of leader who serves those around you and indirectly, it will come back to you tenfold. The following is a story of a Marine who lives his life in a way that exemplifies living in a way that causes good things to happen, through the attitude he chooses and service to others.
A nurse took the tired, anxious serviceman to the bedside. “Your son is here,” she said to the old man. She had to repeat the words several times before the patient’s eyes opened. Heavily sedated because of the pain of his heart attack, he dimly saw the young uniformed Marine standing outside the oxygen tent.
He reached out his hand. The Marine wrapped his toughened fingers around the old man’s limp ones, squeezing a message of love and encouragement. The nurse brought a chair so the Marine could sit beside the bed. All through the night, the young Marine sat there in the poorly lighted ward, holding the old man’s hand and offering him words of love and strength.
Occasionally, the nurse suggested the Marine move away and rest awhile. He refused. Whenever the nurse came into the ward, the Marine was oblivious of her and of the night noises of the hospital – the clanking of the oxygen tank, the laughter of the night staff members exchanging greetings, the cries and moans of the other patients.
Now and then she heard him say a few gentle words. The dying man said nothing, only held tightly to his son all through the night. Along towards dawn, the old man died. The Marine released the now lifeless hand he had been holding and went to tell the nurse. While she did what she had to do, he waited. Finally, she returned. She started to offer words of sympathy, but the Marine interrupted her.
“Who was that man?” he asked.
The nurse was startled, “He was your father,” she answered.
“No, he wasn’t,” the Marine replied. “I never saw him before in my life.”
“Then why didn’t you say something when I took you to him?”
“I knew right away there had been a mistake, but I also knew he needed his son, and his son just wasn’t here. When I realized that he was too sick to tell whether or not I was his son, knowing how much he needed me, I stayed. I came here tonight to find a Mr. William Grey. His son was killed in Iraq today, and I was sent to inform him. What was this Gentleman’s Name?”
The nurse with tears in her eyes answered, “Mr. William Grey…”
(Author of this story unknown)
As a leader, you make a difference in your organization, whether it is positive or negative. Your state of mind over others gives you an opportunity to inspire and lead others to new heights, based on how you show up at work and the attitude you bring. Allow differences in others avoiding criticism and judgment where possible. Give feedback in a caring voice tone, showing employees you really want and expect them to succeed. Stay conscious, especially when things do not go as expected. Then take a positive approach that gets results and builds up those around you. Be in the game at work and you will make things happen.
Choosing your state of mind where you are happy, making work fun and peaceful brings far greater success to your organization and makes you an easier leader to follow.