I have a son who is 5 years old and just recently started Kindergarten. This has been a challenge for us and him because of new routines and new dynamics and realities in his life. He is much more tired and much more cranky than he was before he started going to school from 8:45am to 3:45pm. As I interact with him, I find that he is easily upset by things that don’t go his way and he struggles to maintain a positive outlook on the things going on around him.
In fact, I often find myself telling him to “choose a good attitude” when things aren’t going the way he would want them to. In the moment, it really doesn’t help for me to say that, but my hope is that it is placing in his mind that the way he reacts to the positive and negative things of life is completely his choice. Isn’t it the same of leadership?
How often do we find ourselves in a situation that was not at all how we planned for it to go? As a leader, things rarely go exactly how we play them out in our minds. There are interruptions, the messiness of dealing with people, and the chaos of Monday mornings, missed deadlines, and life outside of the office that we all bring into the workplace with us.
Those things are going to happen, right? So the key rests squarely on how we react to those things – choosing a good attitude. When we don’t choose a good attitude, we may withdraw and be a distant leader. Or, we may find ourselves taking out our frustrations on another person or our family. To not choose the right attitude when things don’t go our way is to play a victim to our circumstances and that is not what great leaders do.
When we choose the right attitude, we not only overcome the setbacks of life, but we also model for those around us this important behavior choice. If we truly believe that Leadership is Influence, then this choice is about more than our own mindset – but it extends to those who are watching our reaction to life’s circumstances and waiting for us to lead the way…
When have you not chosen the right attitude about the stuff happening to you and around you? Why is it difficult for people to choose a good attitude?