Managing ATTITUDE!

Have you ever run across an employee at a retail establishment that you can tell doesn’t want to be doing what he or she is doing? They just “have a bad attitude”. Well, they weren’t necessarily born this way. In fact, it probably took a certain amount of time and effort to develop this attitude of “I don’t want to be here”! So how did this occur, and how can I as a manager prevent it from happening to my staff? The easy answer is attitude, like many other aspects (good and bad) seems to have a trickledown effect. It starts at the top and works its way down to our staff members. Simply put…manage your own attitude and it will have a profound, positive effect on your staff members.

So how do I do this? Well, it’s not as easy as you may think. Having a positive attitude, just like having a negative one, doesn’t just happen, it takes effort. You need to be constantly aware of the way you handle yourself and conduct yourself to promote that positive attitude. The good news is this….you have 100% total control over your attitude. In fact, it’s one of the few aspects of a manager’s job that he or she has complete control over.

Here’s an example of what I mean: Have you ever stayed out too late one night knowing that you had to get up early the next morning? We’ve all done this at some point in our lives. We stay out or up way too late then when we finally go to bed we look over at the clock and think to ourselves, “Wow! I’m only going to get a few hours of sleep. I am going to be exhausted tomorrow.” Then we finally nod off to sleep. Well, tomorrow comes and what happens? We’re exhausted! Just like we convinced ourselves that we would be. Maybe a better alternative would have been to say to ourselves; “I’m going to get a quick nap here, and when I get up, I’m going to feel energized and ready to start my day.”

Never underestimate the power of positive suggestion. It can be one of your greatest assets! Now…for those of you who think this is totally corny and are ready to stop reading this article, ask yourselves one question: “Do I have a positive attitude or negative attitude right now?” See…it’s entirely your decision. You have total control over how you feel when you drive into the parking lot at work in the morning, or when you walk into your office, or most importantly when you greet your staff. Your attitude at this point will have a huge impact over your staff’s attitudes.

Some of the greatest managers I’ve been around all have that one thing in common. They all have great, positive attitudes. And guess what…they all have staffs with great attitudes as well. So just how do you manage your attitude? Well, first it’s a good idea to try to eliminate as much of your negative influences as possible. Would you agree that most people start off their day in a similar manner? They get up in the morning, read the newspaper, maybe watch the local news, check out the weather, etc. How many negative stories are reported in a typical newscast? What usually makes the headline of your local paper? Are these positive influences?  Believe me, this isn’t a commercial to stop watching the news, but since we’re talking about negative influences, it’s definitely a point to consider.

What do you listen to on your way to work? Many successful people will create playlists loaded with positive, uplifting music and listen to them on their morning commute. This is a great way to start out your day with a positive attitude! This is what I’m thinking about when I say eliminate your negative influences.

I am starting to see more and more service managers’ offices with inspirational posters and pictures in them. This is a great idea! Nothing helps affect your attitude more than getting a good dose of a positive or inspirational saying when you walk into your office in the morning. I love that I am often seeing more and more dealerships with these types of pictures hanging in areas where customers frequently pass! I truly believe that most people want to be positive and want to feel good, but we fall into the trap of being a product of our environment. If you ever have the opportunity to be in an area where there are fishermen crabbing, take a look at nature’s own example of how misery loves company. You’ll see a bucket of crabs sitting on a dock and every time one industrious little creature tries to climb out of the bucket, the others grab at him and pull him back down! Don’t allow society to do this to you, but even more importantly don’t allow yourself to do this to your staff.

Hyman’s Seafood in Charleston, SC has adapted the following motto:

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than success, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our ATTITUDES.

So, if you’ve taken the time to read this article, you hopefully understand the importance of attitude. I would like to leave you with an assignment: Think of the most positive person you know. This may be a celebrity, motivational speaker, relative, or even a customer. Then think of the most negative person you know. Which one do you want to be more like? For one day, try to perform like that positive person is standing right next to you, watching how you react to what life and business throws at you that day. Try your best to maintain that great positive attitude and look for the positive. Now, once you’ve done that for one day, try a second, then a third. Remember, anyone can focus on something for a day, many can focus on something for a week, and a select few can focus on something for a month. Only the best of the best focus on something for as long as it takes to develop a habit and make that idea a part of their normal routine.

I challenge you today, to have your most positive day this year. And let that enthusiasm spill over to your service advisors, technicians, customers, and everyone around you! Remember…don’t be a crab!

Written by Rick Yanac

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