When some people think about ‘attitude’ as a employment skill, they might think about a person’s demeanor and general disposition. An employee with a cheerful, smiling upbeat temperament might be thought to have a ‘good attitude.’ However, ‘attitude’ as a workplace skill is about much more than having a pleasant personality. When it comes to success, a winning attitude is about an employee’s mindset toward work and willingness to work, no matter what the job entails. As a skill, attitude can be defined as one who has a strong work ethic… a ‘can do’ approach to every task and a ‘whatever it takes to get the job done’ posture.
Most employers talk about wanting employees with a ‘positive attitude’ at work. Indeed, it is considered one of the top 10 workplace skills. And many employees think they do have a good ‘attitude’ because they are friendly and cooperative. Yet, at every workplace, there are those who are unwilling to do certain jobs. The argument might be that the tasks are tedious, boring, or menial. Or that the work is beneath the person’s abilities. Or that the job is a poor use of the person’s time. But those are all copouts. So what does a roll-up-your-sleeves, do-whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-job-done attitude look like?
If you ask ten colleagues what is the most important skill a person needs to be successful, you will likely get ten different answers. That’s neither unusual nor wrong. There are a myriad of skills that contribute to success. Communication. Teamwork and cooperation. Enthusiasm (for your work). Strong work ethic. Responsibility. Efficient planning. Positive Attitude. These skills are generally considered by most people to be very important for success.
Indeed, The Career Center at the University of South Florida conducted a survey to determine the skills and abilities students need to succeed in the workplace of the 21st century so they could then infuse the teaching of these skills and abilities into the University’s classroom experience. They surveyed 130 participants attending the USF Career Center’s Fall Job Fair. Eighty-three recruiters responded, representing a 64.6 percent response rate. Top-ranking skills were then grouped into three categories, according to the percentage of respondents that rated a particular skill as being “Extremely Important or Very Important” to success. The results showed that many of the most important skills for success are not hard skills, such as the ability to do mathematical computations, but rather soft skills such as effective problem-solving or curiosity. Interestingly, one skill that made the A list as considered “Extremely Important or Very Important” by over 90% of all respondents was the ability to adapt. Adaptability, or the ability to adjust to new conditions, is a viewed by nine out of 10 people to be a key skill for success. Continue reading