Recently posted quotes:
"There is no distinctly American criminal class - except Congress." Mark Twain (1835-1910)
“Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for.” -Will Rogers (1879-1935)
"Stability in government is essential to national character and to the advantages annexed to it." -James Madison (1751-1836)
"Liberty must at all hazards be supported." -John Adams (1735-1826)
Friday, June 12, 2009
Leadership - Part 7 – A Leader’s Effect on Attitudes, Beliefs and Values
We all know that managing people is not easy; but when you also have to deal with attitudes that are a little different, beliefs that are not your own, and values that don’t come near matching yours; it becomes a real chore. Most experts will tell you that you can change these three areas of individual viewpoint only the slightest.
If this is so; where does that leave the leader in today’s “split down the middle” workplace? To repeat: it’s a chore.
People come into the workforce with a whole bundle of preconceived attitudes, beliefs and values. These have been developed over long periods of time and passed on by those that they have held dear to them, some more and others less. These outside influences have no place in your workplace; but they are there and do exist no matter how hard you might try to ignore them. They can not be set aside. You must face them straight on.
What you might be able to do is weaken the influences by setting an example that can not be competed with. The strength of the outside influence is the only thing appropriate to challenge.
The best attack is to establish skill sets that encourage the individual to be just that; an individual. This is only the beginning. Time is not on your side; but the longer you have their attention, the better progress you will be able to achieve.
Attitude is probably the easiest of the three to influence comparatively. A positive attitude is contagious and takes very little work to propagate. Just work at it everyday. The spreading effect is also on your side. The example you set here is truly important. Don’t ever let down. The slightest setback can undo a world of progress. Make the most of each setback as a learning experience and expand the knowledge of those affected by the happening. Never miss an opportunity for the group to learn.
Don’t forget: slipping backwards is a lot easier than going forward; its just human nature to do so. People have to be removed from an undesirable environment for a long period of time for real change to take place and hold on.
Beliefs can only be changed by success and it has to be continued success at that. Short term success will have very little impact on beliefs. A belief that come around over time will be set in stone; that’s the same way they developed the other belief. Don’t look for miracles and be pleased with minor advances.
Stress is the biggest deterrent to allowing progress to be maintained. Look for ways to release stress as it builds. One of the best ways to combat this that I have used over the years is the “group lunch”. People tend to open up more over food mixed with camaraderie than any other situation I have found. Try it.