Monday Mornings with Madison

Skills for Success – Part 4

A “Whatever It Takes” Attitude

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?

A research study tracked 20,000 new hires.  Of those, 46% of them failed (lost their jobs) within 18 months. More surprising than the failure rate was that when new hires failed, 89% of the time it was for attitudinal reasons and only 11% of the time for a lack of skill. The attitudinal deficits that doomed failed hires included a lack of coachability, low levels of emotional intelligence, temperament, and most importantly motivation.

Thus, a good attitude is key to success.  Here are nine qualities of a ‘whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-job-done’ employee to emulate.  A Whatever-It-Takes Person:

1.  Is a Problem-Solver

A can-do person will aggressively pursue solutions.  In the process, he/she may uncover creative solutions others never even try to find. Can-do leaders take responsibility for the future and don’t blame circumstances or other people when facing roadblocks. Rather than wallowing in helplessness, can-do leaders search diligently to overcome the obstacles in front of them.

2.  Is Fearless

A what-ever it takes person will take the bull by the horns at work.  He/she goes straight to the source of the solution.  Every effort commands attention as he/she tackles a situation with expediency. A person with a can-do attitude will have a certain amount of assertiveness or aggressiveness.  He/she initiates action.

3.  Can Empathize

A whatever-it-takes person will attempt to see any predicament from the other person’s perspective in order to make the best decisions.  This person seeks to put him/herself in the other’s place, and not try to put others in their place. Can-do leaders see the world from their perspective as well as the perspective of others.  They use their own perspective to give direction, and they use others’ perspectives to forge relational connections.

5.  Is Driven Internally

A can-do person is immune to burnout. He/she has learned how to fuel the fire that keeps them moving.  Those who are willing to do whatever it takes generally love what they do.

6.  Presses Onward

A person with a can-do attitude will not be hindered by worry, fear, anxiety or obstacles.  He or she has the fortitude to persevere in the face of adversity.  Can-do leaders take risks.

7.  Is Open-Minded

A whatever-it-takes person is open to change. He/she accepts new work, new challenges and new opportunities with an optimistic outlook.  This person never thinks “It’s not my job.”  Where others see ‘impossible’, they think ‘who knows… maybe…. possibly… could be.’  Instead of asking ‘why?’, they say “why not?’.

8.  Reaches the Finish Line

Can-do people not only initiate, they finish. They are self-starters with the capacity to close the deal.

9.  Sees Value in all Work

A whatever-it-takes person does not see some tasks as being more important, worthwhile or valuable than other tasks.  All work is seen as having merit and honor.

Except for super star athletes, most people won’t get very far in a career with a poor attitude.  Attitude is often ranked as the most important factor when employers rank criteria that are important to them.  Having a can-do stance is a big part of having a good attitude.  It is the kind of skill that not only helps with career advancement.  It is also the kind of skill that, when lacking, loses jobs.

Quote of the Week

“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
Winston Churchill


© 2013, Written by Keren Peters-Atkinson, CMO, Madison Commercial Real Estate Services. All rights reserved.

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