Attitude Determines Outcome!

The first aerodynamic concept that student pilots learn is that an airplane’s attitude determines its trajectory. A positive (nose-up) attitude results in a climb. A negative (nose-down) attitude will cause a descent.

Interestingly, the same concept applies to the workplace – one’s attitude ultimately determines whether one’s career path soars or plummets. There are six negative workplace attitudes that will trigger a nosedive and possibly a crash landing. These flight hazards should be avoided.

  • Entitlement: A major risk of being a long term employee is the temptation to lord it over co-workers and look down on them. Instead of using tenure and experience to help others, a person with an entitlement attitude feels “special” and unapproachable – and has noticeably few friends.
  • Hostility: For a variety of reasons, some employees settle into a pattern of chronic anger that is telegraphed to everyone in their proximity. A hostile attitude may stem from disagreements with management or from friction with other employees; but the result is predictable – a hostile attitude eventually invites hostility and negativity from others.
  • Disrespect: An attitude of disrespect toward coworkers can manifest itself in many ways – all of them very ugly. Harassment, bullying and ridicule are not only inappropriate – they also are prohibited in the workplace by state and federal laws!
  • Superiority: Individuals who project an attitude of superiority often do so at the expense of others. Racism, sexism, ageism and bias against those of other nationalities, religions or

cultures are corrosive in any workplace and often originate from a habit of looking down on others who are “different.”

  • Insensitivity: When one lacks empathy, the result is often a callousness that shows up in various forms in the workplace, including gossiping about co-workers; sabotaging their reputations and talking behind others’ backs. But remember that gossip and slander require a receptive audience – so even if you are not the source, you are also demonstrating insensitivity by providing a listening ear.
  • Pettiness: Most of us have learned not to sweat the small stuff; but for some, any perceived slight necessitates severe retaliation. For example, Mary frequently sat with Sarah during their lunch break. But on one occasion, Mary opted to sit with Tina. Sarah reacted with anger and now refuses to speak to Mary. The stress caused by Sarah’s negative attitude has needlessly permeated the entire department.

The good news is that each of these negative attitudes has a positive corollary. Entitlement can be replaced by helpfulness; hostility by kindness; disrespect by concern; superiority by self-effacing humility; insensitivity by thoughtfulness and pettiness by generosity and understanding.

As “pilot in command” of our attitudes, we bear sole responsibility for smooth flying at work.

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