Curated Leadership for Today's World

5 Ways to Maintain a Winning Attitude

Posted on 20 July 2011

A guest post by Mary Anne Davis, author of "The Sales Messenger: 10 Lessons for Sales Success in Your Business and Personal Lives"

A plant manager was disappointed yesterday when I told him one of his key people is a “falling star”. He said, “but he knows the job and our processes better than anyone”. It was painful for him to hear me state this, but after ten training sessions I did not see a winning attitude, or leadership qualities. Attitude is the will that sets people apart from the pack and that creates leaders and winners in both business and life. Here are a few quick tips to maintain and convey a winning attitude.

1.  Know Your Business: Learn not only about your products and services, but also know your competition, your customers’ business, and the trends for your industry. You can do this simply by joining associations that are linked with the industry you are in or the ones you serve. This gives you the opportunity to network and learn from experts in the field, gives you access to publications they offer which will report on leading-edge technology and processes that may help you be more successful. Find a way to get involved and see if they have social networking sites like LinkedIn or Twitter that keep you tuned in.

2.  Practice Reciprocity: Give and you shall receive. Whatever role you are in, do a little extra, smile a little bigger, help others, and pay attention to quality on the tasks you touch. People will be willing to give back and help you when you need it. Another way to invoke reciprocity is to ask people about their opinions, experiences, values, and beliefs. By doing this you are giving them credit for their intelligence versus being the know-it-all. Guess what? They, in turn, will respect you because you respected them. 

 3.  Enter the Learning Zone: You can do this with continuing education courses at community colleges, extension programs, or you can simply “just read”. Did you know that managers who read seven books a year earn 230% more than those who do not? On average, successful CEOs read four books a month. Consider listening to audio books when driving; reading a business book or magazine when commuting by train, bus, or plane; or go the electronic route with an e-reader or phone app. To get you started on a reading program, below are a few titles I would recommend

4.  Feed Your Mind the “Good Stuff”: It takes discipline to keep the “good stuff” coming into your mind. You can do this by surrounding yourself with positive people, finding a study group, and sharing ideas with like-minded people. When you feel the need, you can re-motivate yourself using the experts as your personal coaches by listening to webinars, teleconferences, or pre-recorded self-improvement programs. And this is my favorite: find your motivational theme songs. My favorites are Gloria Estefan’s Get On Your Feet, and Carole King’s, Beautiful (“You have to get up every morning with a smile on your face…”). Of course you can also use the tried-and-true method of reading or listening to programs by motivational experts to keep the “good stuff” in front of you. Listen when they tell you to remove the words can’t and should from your vocabulary and replace with I can and I will. If you need some ideas to get started, below are some of the items I found useful:

5.  Relax and Rejuvenate. There’s no time for today tomorrow. If you do not take time, then you may experience burn-out or stress-related illnesses. Look after yourself by taking time for yourself and your family. This can be an annual  quarterly vacation, a quarterly get away, movie night with the family, family dinner night or simple time alone working on a hobby. If you do not have a hobby, find out about something you have always wanted to do and figure out how to learn to do that. Would you like to learn a new language, take up needlework, exercise more, or fly a helicopter? Even if you decide it is not really for you before you finish the project, just the simple act of learning something new will expand your mind and get the brain off of work for a little while.

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