It’s that time of year again!  Have you gotten your flu shot?  If you’re like me, you’ll probably wait until someone you know, someone with whom you “share space”, gets it.  We know that it’s contagious, but so often we put off getting immunized until the last minute or until it is too late.  And then it hits us, and we swear, “Never again!” 

Getting immunized is important for two reasons; it lessens the likelihood that we will become ill and it helps us from becoming contagious.  No one wants to make someone else ill.  No one wants to make someone else’s life miserable. Agreed?  So let’s stop talking about the flu and begin to talk about attitude.  Is your attitude contagious?   Would you want others to need an immunization so they wouldn’t get it?  Does your attitude and subsequent behavior serve to inspire others or create an atmosphere that has all the joy of a physician’s waiting room?  I think we all know the answer we would like to hear. 

Peter Stark considers this question in his post entitled, A Leader’s Attitude is Contagious – For Better or Worse.   Attitude is often defined as a learned tendency to evaluate things in a certain way. Our awareness of this tendency is rare, and rarer yet is the acknowledgement of its effect on the individual and others.  Hence, one of the greatest gifts a leader can bring to his or her team is self-awareness and an understanding of their attitude and the impact it plays on relationships, the performance of the team, and everyone around them.  The problem is simple, a leader or a team member with a poor attitude is like a virus.  It serves to infect the work environment, lower morale and impact performance.  In a small organization it can lead to customer loss.  In a larger organization it can lead to departmental quarantine or avoidance.  The good news is there is a vaccine that is easily administered.  It’s called making a choice to have a positive attitude, and while you cannot tell someone to simply change their attitude, you can provide them with direction. Stark provides us with ten simple tips that foster a positive work environment where people enjoy their days and infect others with their positive attitudes:

  1. Have a Positive Vision – Leaders with the right attitude have a positive vision of the future and a deep belief that they can turn that vision into a reality.
  2. Set Goals and Take Daily Action to Make the Vision a Reality – Set and check daily goals that will lead to vision realization.
  3. Choose Positive Self-talk – The words we say to ourselves and others reflect our attitude.  Think about how blessed you are when you choose your words.
  4. Birds of a Feather – It’s hard to be negative when you associate with positive people.  Choose your associates from those who will make you a better person.
  5. Focus on Responsibility, Not Function – See the bigger picture.  While something might not be your job, it can be your responsibility as a member of the team.
  6. Think Funny and Positively – Remember to laugh and not take yourself too seriously.  Even when they are clouds, remember there is a blue sky above them.  Laugh often!
  7. Do What You Love – You may not be there yet, but find something in each day that you love to do. It’s easier to have a positive attitude when you have a passion and love for what you do.
  8. Stay Physically and Mentally Fit – Feeling good about yourself makes it so much easier to display a positive attitude.  Do what you know you should do and don’t do what you know you shouldn’t do!
  9. Stay Focused on the Results – Don’t let the immediate challenges sidetrack you, impact your attitude, or drag you down.  Challenges are there to be embraced.
  10. Listen to Others – If you listen and observe you can see the morale of your team.  This better enables you to project the attitude needed for peak performance.

Remember, a bad attitude is contagious…… is a great one.  It’s you choice, but I think I know which one you will embrace and spread to others!

Embrace the Challenge