Whistle While You Work
Your level of self-motivation and passion will directly impact and influence those you lead. Yep! That’s your attitude. Attitude is one of the six essential qualities of a leader.
How many times have you said, “I can’t do that!” or worse, “I don’t want to do that!”? There are a lot of unpleasant jobs that need to be done in every area of our life. We have a choice. We can choose to do them with a negative attitude or a positive attitude. It really is that simple. Having a good attitude ensures the job will be done well and the time will move quickly. All will benefit from a good attitude.
I have worked for some leaders that really thought there were certain jobs beneath them to do. They saw themselves as sitting high on a throne ordering others to do the dirty work. I have had other leaders jump right in with me to help get the job done. Guess which one I admired more and had more loyalty? Guess which one I want to follow? It’s not the one yelling at me to do it, it’s the one working with me to get the job done.
We we can either work for bosses or we work we can work with leaders. We have to do what our boss says, and we want to do what a leader says. Big difference, and it’s all in the attitude.
I remember when I was young I had to do a lot of jobs that just seemed absolutely horrible. On one such occasion my father brought home a huge load of wood that needed to be sawed and split for our wood-burning stove. The pile of wood looked like a mountain. There was no way I could do it alone. My dad explained to me how the job would build character and muscle. He told me how we could save money heating the house with the wood. Nothing he said, however, changed my attitude. This job was beneath me, in my mind, and something that I wanted no part of at all.
All of my friends that weekend were watching the big ball game and here I was stuck behind the house on a freezing-cold day cutting and sorting wood. I had the worst attitude in the world. My dad had other work to do and I was left alone.
Lucky for me my brother surprised us with a visit home. He found me in the back yard mumbling about the work I had to do. I was doing it slowly and poorly. In just a few seconds my brother had turned the entire chore into a fun game. He had a wonderful knack for doing that. He was a true leader. We put the ball game on the radio and made a contest out of the work. I remember my brother making up this silly song parody on “The Devil Came Down to Georgia” about our job. In my brother’s version it was our hometown, not Georgia and the contest wasn’t fiddling, it was…splitting wood. I laughed so hard my side hurt. The job was completed in no time at all, I enjoyed it, and I did a good job. Dad was happy. I learned a valuable lesson that day.
What seemed like an agonizing job ended up being one of the most memorable weekends with my brother. We traded stories, laughed, and had a good time. I learned a lot about leadership that weekend. Many hands really does lighten the load, and a good attitude makes the work go by faster. You really do better work with a great attitude too.
My brother did not have to help me, but by doing so he showed me the importance of the job and how to do it right. My brother still leads that way, and so do I. As the general manager of a prominent hotel, he had over twenty managers to do any job needed, but time after time, I have witnessed my brother leading from the front and doing even the most menial job himself. He always has a great attitude and that sets the tone for everyone that works for him.
My dad was right too. All winter long when we heated that house I felt proud of cutting all the wood. My dad usually complained about the bills in the house, but that winter every time a heating bill arrived, he sang my praises to everyone in the family about how my hard work saved the family money. It was one of the first times I really felt like a man in our family.
Doing a job well is only half of the job. You have to do it with a great attitude.
Kelly Croy is a professional speaker and artist.
He has entertained and amazed audiences across the nation
with his art and words.
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