Attention Leaders: Five Attitudes to Take to work in 2013

Attitude is a big deal.  The way we look at things and the beliefs we hold about them influence what we choose to do and how we choose to behave when we’re doing it.  That’s why I think it’s always a good idea, especially for those who lead, to conduct something of an attitude inventory from time to time.  And, what better time to do it than at the beginning of a New Year?

So, with that in mind, here are five attitudes that I think will be necessary for business leaders to take, in achieving success in 2013 and beyond:

Attitude # 1: Diversity is not a black and white subject   ~ There are a myriad of distinctions between human beings. Leaders who believe that diversity is limited to cultural, ethnic and gender differences must go deeper and wider to make optimal use of the richness in knowledge, thought and experience that exists in their organizations.

For example, organizations in 2013 include people from three generations, each with their own set of experiences and expectations.  Leaders who don’t seek to understand both the benefits this promises and the tension it creates, will be disadvantaged.  More importantly, if they fail to constructively accommodate these differences, they will also fail to create an environment in which people from each generation are willing to do their best work.

The Upshot:  If you look at building a diverse workforce as a nice to do initiative, you are missing the point…and the boat. Making optimal use of available talent brings optimal results and will keep you in the game. That makes valuing diversity a business imperative.

Attitude #2: Communication is only effective if it results in understanding ~ Communication is a huge topic in most organizations.  It, or lack of it, is often pinpointed as the culprit when things go wrong. And yet, so many cling to the idea that because they understand the message they are sending, it is reasonable to assume that those on the receiving end will understand it in the same way.

The Upshot: If you view communication as something that creates understanding, you may also see the wisdom in seeking out and engaging a wider range of communication tools.  And, there are a great many about thanks to the wonders of technology.   This attitude can help to reduce the confusion that comes from  unclear messages and increase potential for greater overall productivity.

Attitude #3: Learning and Training are not synonymous ~ Opportunities to learn are everywhere and yet some leaders continue to believe that if they have a wide array of training programs in their organizations and encourage, or even require, people to attend them, their job is done.  While it would be nice to think that, the truth is, learning doesn’t really happen in a classroom, on a webinar or from a book.  Learning happens when training is applied in real life circumstances. To create learning, you also have to create the culture and environment that welcomes it.

Lots of people who attend classes will come away with new ideas and yet have no place to apply them.  When this happens, the ideas, no matter how good, drift off into the ether.  Also, when people try something new and fail, the response to that failure becomes critical to the learning process.  Too many organizations make punishment the reward for honest mistakes.  When that happens, learning takes a back seat to survival.

The Upshot: If you want people to learn, grow and increase their value to your organization, create a whole learning environment that includes opportunity for application of new skill; a balanced attitude toward failure; genuine recognition of accomplishment and; a well constructed framework for individual accountability.

Attitude #4:  Collaboration is the watchword of the 21st Century ~ In successful organizations, there’s no such thing as a one-man (or woman) band. There’s just far too much going on for a single person to manage successfully. And yet, there are still those who try to keep tight control over everything that goes on around them.

The Upshot:  Taking a collaborative perspective and putting it into practice is hard. It means making the work more important than you.  But, doing so most often reaps better results.  That is reason enough to take a collaborative attitude.

Attitude #5: Vision, values and purpose matter more than rules and policies ~ In every organization, there have to be boundaries.  For instance, legal and ethical boundaries are permanent fixtures in any reputable company and must be strongly enforced.  However, beyond that, encouraging people to contribute their best work relies on the strength of their understanding of, and belief in, your organizational purpose, vision of the future and the values you espouse.

The Upshot:  Leading from vision, values and purpose requires greater focus and discipline than enforcing a set of rules.  However, those who do it successfully create workplaces that attract talented, enthusiastic and committed people. In a world where competition for the best is fierce, that has to be a good thing.

That’s what I think anyway.  What do you think?



Filed under Leadership, Leadership Development, Leadership Values, NOWLeadership, Organizational Effectiveness, Uncategorized

13 responses to “Attention Leaders: Five Attitudes to Take to work in 2013

  1. Pingback: Attention Leaders: Five Attitudes to Take to work in 2013 | Leading with Distinction |

  2. This is a great post Gwen! I like to start with #5 when working with leaders. The others can be articulated in the values statements which becomes the guide for strategic action and the benchmark for accountability and measurement. Leaders must inherently believe that this matters or it will simply fail, with or without collaboration.

    • Gwyn Teatro

      Hi Diane ~ Agreed! If I were to put these attitudes in order of importance, I might start with #5 as #1! The success of leading from values and incorporating all of the attitudes mentioned, depends on the strength and commitment of the leader. I’d like to think there are leaders out there who can do that. However, if only one of these perspectives was fully embraced, I’d also like to think that it could bring about enough of a positive result to encourage others to explore change more enthusiastically. We live in hope 🙂

  3. I think there is a lot of bebefit leaders can gain by taking these 5 attitudes to work. I would just like to build on ‘Learning and Training are not Synonymous’. I agree with what you have said here and also add in ‘development’. There is often a lot of focus on ‘learning’ and people forget ‘development’. By ‘development’ I mean focusing on developing how people think (cognition), feel (emotional intelligence, compassion) and act (behaviour). For example, someone could learn the knowledge of team leadership and learn / practice the necessary skills. However, if they haven’t developed their cognitive agility to match the complexity in their work they are very likely to make poor decisions and then very effectively lead their team in the wrong direction.

    • Gwyn Teatro

      Hi Terry ~ You make a good point. Your words make me think of it as the difference between learning and implementing the mechanics of an idea and being able to think critically enough to know why it is important. So yes, helping people expand their thinking and incorporate feeling into their work is, I think, paramount to the retention and development of just about everything we set out to learn. Thank you for that and for taking the time to share it here.

  4. Pingback: Attention Leaders: Five Attitudes to Take to work in 2013 | Resilient Leadership |

  5. Pingback: Attention Leaders: Five Attitudes to Take to work in 2013 | Spark The Action |

  6. Alison p-h

    Great post! You must be a very inspiring person to work for. Thank you for all your insightful posts. All the best for a fabulous 2013.

    • Gwyn Teatro

      Hi Alison ~ Thank you for your very kind words. I am compelled to say though that while I would aspire to inspire,most work of leadership is much easier said than done…or in my case, more easily written than executed. 🙂
      All the best to you too!

  7. Pingback: Five Attitudes to Take to work in 2013 | digitalNow |

  8. Dear Gwyn,

    Love this post! Well done!

    I’m writing to seek for your permission to include this post in our e-Mag, Guild of HR e-Mag, a free online monthly published magazine distributed to HR Practitioners, mainly from the APAC region.

    Let me know if you’re keen for us to take this forward

    Thanks !

    Shima Rahman
    Editor, Guild of HR e-Mag
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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