Often times when someone asks if I have any allergies, I’ll reply, “Bad attitudes.”
The truth is, I hate bad attitudes.
The reality is, for too long I didn’t do much about it.
Actually, I probably enabled bad attitudes. By default, anytime you don’t address the bad attitude you are permitting it. You’re also communicating to all of the people with good attitudes: I care more about my comfort than this being great.
So here’s what I did.
First – I admitted it.
I let some people in on the fact that I’d been a lazy leader (hint: they already knew).
Then – I addressed it.
I didn’t make an announcement (that seemed a bit dramatic). The next time a bad attitude crept in, I looked for the right way to address it in a kind and clear way.
Point of clarity: Sadness is not a bad attitude. Neither is mourning, or exhaustion. Being overwhelmed or asking for help aren’t bad attitudes. I’m not even sure anger is a bad attitude.
While their feelings are real, and the circumstance may be unfortunate, their attitude is a chosen response.
Here are the three bad attitudes that get me:
“This is too hard.” –> Sometimes it feels like people would rather angst than work. The truth is, work is hard. The solution? Believing we are capable. Create a rhythm of work and rest and choose collaboration.
“This isn’t fair.” –> Of course it isn’t fair. Life isn’t fair, fairness isn’t the goal, and (thank God) we don’t get what we deserve. The solution? Clarify expectations and choose gratitude.
“This is your fault.” –> We all own some responsibility for the way things are. The solution? Name what went wrong and choose responsibility.
Attitude doesn’t happen to you. You choose it. Circumstances happen around you. Sometimes because of you, sometimes in spite of you. You always get to choose your response.