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Posts Tagged ‘attitude’

As we get into full throttle here in busy season, a message about being positive is in order! Positive people, those who choose a good mood over a bad day, have a powerful advantage over negative thinkers. While some people allow life’s problems to get them down, optimistic people remind themselves that bad times are only temporary. They find ways to practice positivity, and with a sunny outlook on life, their energy is wildly infectious.

As it pertains to leadership, the power of positive thinking is vital for success, be it that of a team, a department, an office or an entire company. You can have two professionals in a leadership role who are equal in experience and skill, heading up the same group of team members. But one has a positive, optimistic attitude; the other has a generally negative demeanor. The positive leader will prevail every time with a more vibrant, productive team whose energy permeates the workplace. Negativity only leads to reduced productivity and engagement, and allowing it to fester is much more costly and damaging to an organization’s bottom line than confronting or possibly replacing a single toxic staff person.

Creating a positive and healthy culture for your team rests on a few major principles. The qualities of a positive workplace culture boils down to these Super Seven essential characteristics:

  1. Caring for, being interested in, and maintaining responsibility for colleagues as friends.
  2. Providing support for one another, including offering kindness and compassion when others are struggling.
  3. Avoiding blame and forgive mistakes.
  4. Fostering open communication, and avoiding gossip and back-stabbing.
  5. Inspiring one another at work.
  6. Emphasizing the meaningfulness of the work.
  7. Treating one another with respect, gratitude, trust, and integrity.

Positive thinking can set you up for success in every area of your life. You can be healthier, happier, and more successful just by changing your thoughts. If you want to be happy, and not just for one day, focus on the things that will help you remain positive over time. Because a positive attitude can do more than just make you feel good—it could also change your life. You can train your mind to embrace the bright side of things. Here are a few positive quotes I recently received in an email, to get you in the right frame of mind:

  • “A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results.” —Wade Boggs
  • “Virtually nothing is impossible in this world if you just put your mind to it and maintain a positive attitude.” —Lou Holtz
  • “It’s actually cool to be positive and optimistic and idealistic. It’s cool to see yourself doing beautiful, great things.” —Tom DeLonge
  • “There is little difference in people but that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The big difference is whether it is positive or negative.” —W. Clement Stone
  • “It takes but one positive thought when given a chance to survive and thrive to overpower an entire army of negative thoughts.” —Robert H. Schuller

I hope you enjoyed today’s message. Have an absolutely positive week!

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Today, I’d like to continue discussing Pat Williams’ book, Leadership Excellence: the Seven Sides of Leadership for the 21st Century, covering the first side of leadership:

VISION. “Leadership is about the future, so all true leadership begins with vision.”– Pat Williams 

In Leadership Excellence, Williams cites leaders like Cyrus the Great who builds his empire based on tolerance and diversity. He talks about Sam Walton’s vision for Wal-Mart, Steve Jobs for Apple, Richard Branson for Virgin, and many more. Leaders with vision look ahead to the future while sharing the dream and direction which other people want to embrace, share and follow. The vision of an organization’s leadership permeates the workplace and is manifested in the actions, beliefs, values and goals of its people. Williams goes on to share how vision produces three vital effects in the life of a leader:

  • First, vision keeps you focused.  It wards off distractions. Your vision of the future keeps you on the main highway to your goals.
  • Second, vision keeps you fueled.  It gives you energy, passion and enthusiasm for the challenges you face. Energy, passion and enthusiasm are the most contagious of all human qualities… vision evokes emotion.  There is no such thing as emotionless vision.
  • Third, vision helps you finish. Leadership isn’t easy. The road is hard, and there are deserts to cross, valleys to traverse, and mountains to climb or tunnel through. Your vision keeps you going through the tough times.

So, how do you become “visionary”? Without going into great detail (you can read the book), here is a list of skills Williams believes will help you do so:

  1. Uncork your imagination.  Don’t just think outside of the box.  There is no box!
  2. Silence your inner critic. Remember, nothing is impossible.
  3. Consider every possible solution. There is rarely one right way to solve a problem.
  4. Ask yourself, “What if—?” Don’t be content with status quo.  To find a better way, continually ask, “What if—?”
  5. Train yourself to notice what others miss. Look at everything with potential opportunity.
  6. Think “tomorrow.”  Become a futurist. Take time to imagine where today’s trends will lead us in the future.
  7. Make your vision clear and simple.  A complicated vision is not a vision.
  8. Learn to think backwards.  As you plan your leadership journey, begin with the destination in mind, not the starting point.
  9. Tap into the imagination of the entire team.  Call your team together and conduct regular brainstorming sessions.  There are no bad ideas.
  10. Get your entire team to buy in.  “My vision” must become “our vision.”
  11. Give people an elevated vision of themselves.  Great leaders want to develop more leaders.
  12. Prepare people for celebration. Reward your people for a job well done, and let them know about it ahead of time.

Regardless of what level professional you are, from Staff I to Partner; or in which department you are based, be it Accounting, Marketing, Firm Administration, IT or Human Resources, we encourage staff to make time here at Withum really count and be an active part of the growth and betterment of yourself, our Firm, our clients and our communities.  Adhere to the vision that is shared through a variety of avenues throughout the firm, either by your supervisors or office PICs or niche leaders or even myself.

See it.  Feel it.  Share it.  The vision we have for WithumSmith+Brown includes growth and success in revenue and geographic reach, for sure, but it is mostly about the growth and success our own people and our culture.  And from what I can see, the future is very bright.

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You know these people: the ones that seemingly always have a cloud over their heads; they look at everything with a glass-half-empty perspective; they are chronic complainers known to rarely have a nice thing to say about anything.  Often, these people are not even aware of their own negative attitudes because thinking negatively has become a way of life.  Help zap that negativity and turn those frowns upside-down.  Here are a few tips you can try to foster a more optimistic, positive environment when faced with a “Debbie Downer”:

  • Model positive behavior. Your mood and your behaviors are watched and interpreted by everyone around you. Be a good role model, maintaining your composure and a positive attitude that’s authentic.
  • Search out and identify the positives.  Find that silver lining in the cloud! We have an amazing ability to construct our inner world and outlook, to use self-talk to either build ourselves up, or tear ourselves down. Give yourself permission to reframe your thoughts, to focus on the opportunities and positives, and not the drawbacks and negative consequences.  Help the people around you focus on the 90% that we still have rather than the 10% we have lost. See bad events as setbacks, transitory not permanent, and focus on what you can do to learn and grow from it.
  • Provide positive recognition. One of the most powerful gifts you can give someone is to publicly share their good work and victories. This underscores your belief in their potential, and suddenly they are capable of accomplishing so much more, which in turn reaps rewards in productivity.
  • Refuse to fall into the negativity trap yourself.  When there is negativity and distractions around you, it is very important that you keep your eyes focused on the road ahead, on the things that you can do and control. Keep that optimistic attitude.
  • Brainstorm with your team to discover creative ways to make the work environment more positive and pleasant. Trying new things keeps people motivated and stimulates the mind when problem solving. Innovative thinking always has a few stumbling blocks, so maintaining a safe, non-judgmental environment to express and experiment in is very important to employee morale.

Whether your clients, co-workers, or even your own family or circle of friends, help zap the negativity around you with a positive, cooperative attitude.

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The Partner-in-Charge of our NYC office, Mike Stallone, sends out a regular “inspirational quotes” email to his office staff.  I thought this one was exceptionally good and wanted to share it with everyone this morning:

The winner is always part of the answer

The loser is always part of the problem

The winner always has a program

The loser always has an excuse

The winner says “let me do it for you”

The loser says “that’s not my job”

The winner sees an answer for every problem

The loser sees a problem for every answer

The winner sees a green near every sand trap

The loser sees two or three sand traps near every green

The winner says “it may be difficult, but it’s possible”

The loser says “it may be possible, but it’s too difficult”

After reading this, it occurred to me that there is an underlying personality trait held by those who can embrace such perspectives… having a great attitude.  It’s about keeping a positive outlook on things, even when in tough situations.  Remember that enthusiasm is infectious, and a smile and a pleasant attitude can work wonders making a difficult tasks seem easier, and helping calm stressed nerves that may be evident all around you.  Successful people perpetually keep in mind that life is good.  Whether with your clients, co-workers, or even your own family or circle of friends, demonstrating a positive, cooperative attitude will help you reach your own personal pinnacle of success, making you a true winner!

Seek to innovate… possess a vision for growth… maintain a cooperative attitude.

Have a great week.

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I am a big fan of reading books and articles on leadership and the psychology behind what drives people to succeed. I’d like to share an article I read via Yahoo.com’s Small Business Advisor website, offering some valuable gems of advice: 9 Beliefs of Remarkably Successful People.  Here’s the list; the article offers full descriptions of each point:

1. Time doesn’t fill me. I fill time.

2. The people around me are the people I chose. Successful people are naturally drawn to successful people.

3. I have never paid my dues. Dues aren’t paid, past tense. Dues get paid, each and every day.

4. Experience is irrelevant. Accomplishments are everything.

5. Failure is something I accomplish; it doesn’t just happen to me.

6. Volunteers always win.

7. As long as I’m paid well, it’s all good.

8. People who pay me always have the right to tell me what to do.

9. The extra mile is a vast, unpopulated wasteland… full of opportunity.

After reading this list, it occurred to me that there is an underlying personality trait held by those who can embrace such ideals… having a great attitude.  It’s about keeping a positive outlook on things, even when in tough situations.  Enthusiasm is infectious, and a smile and a pleasant attitude can work wonders.  Successful people perpetually keep in mind that life is good.  Whether with your clients, co-workers, or even your own family or circle of friends, demonstrating a positive, cooperative attitude will help you reach your own personal pinnacle of success.

Have a great week.

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“There are two kinds of people.  Those who see opportunity and see problems, and those who see problems and see opportunity.”

-Winston Churchill

 

With a continuous stream of mixed economic news and often-frustrating messages coming out of Washington, it is very easy to get caught up in thinking that the future is bleak.  Couple that with the stress of work, the daily struggle of balancing home life with your job, bills, college tuition, caring for elderly parents, or anything else that is weighing on you, well, it can be just as easy to believe there is little you can do to improve your circumstances.  Thus, you withdraw, turning a little sour, sharing this negativity with your colleagues as you complain to them at the water cooler.  It can be difficult to stay optimistic all the time, right?

 

STOP.  Take a breath.  All is going to be okay.  It’s fine to unload with your colleagues on occasion, but remember that – whether you realize it or not – you are leading by example.  “Optimistic leadership” is not about seeing the world through rose colored glasses, but as Winston Churchill refers to by his famous quote, optimism will inspire a sense of hopefulness and confidence that is required to take full advantage of the opportunities that do exist.  Research has confirmed that those who are able to find an optimistic outlook will not only be more successful, they will also live longer, be healthier and happier.

 

I recently read this “Top 10 Ways to Become More Optimistic” list on website for leadership which resonated with me.  Please take the time to read these points.  I think it will help reshape any negative attitudes you might be harboring right now:

 

1. Seek positive perspectives and evidence.  Unfortunately most of what is being reported today has a pessimistic tone, so to build a more balanced view, you need to look for the positive signs.   In an economic downturn, pessimists may be more right but optimists will see more opportunity and actually accomplish more.

 

2. Practice possibility thinking.  We have an amazing ability to construct our inner world and outlook, to use self talk to either build ourselves up, or tear ourselves down.  Give yourself permission to reframe your thoughts, to focus on the opportunities not the negative consequences – the 90% that we still have rather than the 10% we have lost.  See bad events as setbacks, transitory not permanent and focus on what you can do to energize and build growth.

 

3. Build a compelling vision that inspires.  Take the time to develop a deep sense of mission and purpose, to get really clear about what you want for our firm and the unique value you can provide.  Another adage to consider, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”.

 

4. Surround yourself with positive people.  Optimism is a learned habit, and it is contagious.  Seek out people who have a positive outlook.  You are only as good as the company you keep.

 

5. Be aware of the “shadow” you cast.  As a leader everything you do impacts those around you.  Your mood and your behaviors are watched and interpreted by everyone around you.  Be a good role model, maintaining your composure and a positive attitude – that’s authentic.

 

6. Encourage open dialog.  Being positive and open will draw people towards you.  Staying focused on understanding and listening is especially important with others who don’t feel so optimistic.  Optimism or pessimism is not about the reality of the situation.  You need to remain open to fully understand alternative perspectives and be able to lead people to a more positive future.

 

7. Build resilience through wellness.  Optimists are more resilient to stress and enjoy better health.  Resilience builds a mental toughness and an ability to bounce back from setbacks.  To build your resilience, you need to make purposeful choices to take care of your body, mind, and spirit.

 

8. Build personal mastery.  This begins with an honest assessment of your capabilities and a lifelong commitment to professional development.  Mastery will bring confidence and the capacity to succeed, creating more reason for optimism.

 

9. Believe in the capabilities of your team and organization.  One of the most powerful gifts you can give someone is to believe in their potential.  Suddenly they are capable of accomplishing so much more, which in turn gives you more to feel optimistic about.

 

10. Stay focused and track accomplishments.  When there is a lot of information and distractions it is very important that you keep your eyes focused on the road ahead, on the things that you can do and control.  Celebrating your victories along the way and knowing that although it may be a long road, you will get to your destination in the end.

 

Have a great and POSTIVE week!

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