Team Leadership And A Positive Attitude

While attitude adjustment is not a new concept, it is certainly one worth revisiting no matter how educated or enlightened you may be.

Your attitude speaks volumes. It can affect the way people relate to you and the way you view and approach your workload. Consider the following situation.

There once was a young man who walked by a construction site. He came upon three workers laying bricks. He said to the first worker, “Whatcha’ doin’?” The worker replied, “Laying bricks.” The young man asked the second worker, “Whatcha’ doin’?” The second worker responded, “Making a living.” The young man asked the third worker, “Whatcha’ doin’?” The worker stood up, brushed off his hands, threw out his chest and said, “I’m building a cathedral!”

Which worker would you rather converse with? The difference is attitude. Attitude is, essentially, the way you view a situation. Imagine that while on vacation you are taking a picture of a spectacular sunset over the ocean. But, on the right side of your viewing area, there is a garbage dump. Most likely, you will leave the garbage dump out of the picture. It is still there, but you have chosen not to focus on it. Your attitude is like a picture; you have the power to choose what to include and what not to include.

An optimistic attitude is learning to push the garbage dumps out of the picture and see more sunsets. People will notice and respond more favorably to individuals who have mastered this trick. Of course, no one can be optimistic all of the time. This is where the ability to rebound becomes crucial. A positive attitude can help you address problems and motivate you to take action to resolve them. Even though there may be no immediate solution, your attitude can help you deal with a problem more gracefully and help neutralize its negative effects.

The more you practice a positive attitude, the easier it becomes, and the more it will enhance your career. A positive attitude increases enthusiasm, energy level, creativity and self-confidence. Hence, it can also make you more appealing to others. While it is important to be a skilled manager, your attitude is equally important. Imagine conveying a bad attitude while trying to motivate a member or coworker, or gain the support of a supervisor. Would you be successful? Probably not. A positive attitude can help you to build, repair and maintain these crucial relationships. Consider the self-fulfilling-prophecy theory that says, your thoughts affect your actions. If you believe you will succeed and that good things will happen to you, they will happen more often than if your view is pessimistic.

A positive attitude can play an important role in the leadership of your team. It cannot be taught, but it can be contagious. Whenever you find people without a smile, give them yours. Leadership has less to do with position than it does with disposition. The disposition of a leader is important because it will influence the way the followers think and feel.

You may be saying to yourself, “My attitude is fine.” Beware. It is easy to fall into a negative rut and be unaware of it. Ask co-workers, friends or family members to assess the attitude you are projecting to the outside world. You may be surprised. Remember, a positive attitude must be genuine. You attitude shows even before you say a word. It shows in the way you look and carry yourself.

An optimistic attitude has been shown to have a protective effect against depression, illness and premature death. Pessimists are more likely to exhibit physical symptoms and show hormonal and immune-system changes that are characteristic of increased susceptibility to disease. One study showed that baseball players in the Hall of Fame who were pessimistic when they were young and healthy were more likely to die young than their optimistic counterparts. There are also several cases where a positive attitude has made a dramatic difference in the recovery of a cancer patient.

In London, a long-term study was conducted on 57 breast cancer victims who had mastectomies. They found that seven out of 10 women with a fighting spirit were alive 10 years later, while four out of five women who felt hopeless at the time of their diagnosis had died.

Over time, positive attitudes can replace negative ones. It is important to emphasize that this is a battle to last a lifetime. The game plan is simple; the more that negative thoughts are replaced by positive ones, the more positive you will become.

Enjoy those sunsets.


Chapman, E. Attitude: Your Most Priceless Possession. Crisp Publications, 1988.
Kabat-Zinn, J. Full Catastrophe Living. Dell Publishing, 1990.
Ornstein, R. & D. Sobel. Healthy Pleasures. Addison -Wesely Publishing Company, 1989.
Robinson, D. Mind Over Disease. Reader’s Digest, March 1990.

By Rick Caro. President of Management Vision Inc., a club consulting company that focuses on the areas of market analyses, valuations, member surveys, finances, feasibility studies, expert witness testimony, club sales/purchases and operational analyses. Management Vision Inc. can be reached at 800 778-4411.

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