Now, I'm not one of those rah-rah guys. In fact I've often looked askance at folks who try to create a lot of "good attitude" or excitement. In fact I've tended to be more of a Despair.com guy. But a stop at a fast food restaurant got me thinking about how powerful attitude can be.
I was having a fine day, picking up some lunch between meetings and sales calls. Not a good day, not a a bad day - just a busy day. When I drove to the window to complete my purchase, I was greeted by a person with such enthusiasm, such apparent joy in his work, that his attitude made me forgot any concerns or worries that I had and focus on how happy he was and how I could be more happy.
OK - so if a guy who really enjoys his job at a fast food service window can make me revisit why I work and what makes me happy - then how much more can we as leaders and managers help our teams get motivated (and productive, and innovative) by how we interact with them and the attitudes we promote? If an hourly worker who deals with the public through a service window making change can get me to reconsider my attitude, however briefly, what more can we do to get people enthused and excited about what they do at work - and why they do it?
One person with a positive attitude and optimism about where our strategy can make a real difference. A positive attitude can be contagious and spread to others. Likewise, one person with a negative attitude and conspicuous doubts about our strategy can bring everyone down. Positive attitudes and outlooks correspond to greater productivity, efficiency and innovation. This one's a no brainer.
I guess the reason I've been somewhat skeptical of the inspirational posters on the wall and management slogans is that they often espouse something and management actions often contradict those messages. For true positive attitudes, the management team must walk the talk. Be excited about the company and it's future, help others to see the same vision and constantly reinforce the values and goals. Real excitement and commitment will filter down. False commitment requires hallway posters.