A smile can really go a long way–especially in the workplace. Your attitude on the job can have a major impact in your success in your career. “Attitude is the strong undercurrent to someone’s chance of success in just about any respective job. Why? The reason is that work like life is never perfect. To actually make real leaps in your career, you need to persevere – and so long as you have some talent, a good attitude will get you there,” says career coach Patrick Richard, founder of ShinyNeedle .com, a digital and career website.
A bad attitude in the workplace doesn’t just affect your day; it can have long term career effects. “Those who are willing to see challenges or downtimes as opportunities will win out 99 percent of the time. The reason being is that a very small percentage of human beings are able to stay positive and have a mindset that is generally positive all the time. In order to be really successful, you need to do things others are not willing to do. Being positive at work most the time is very difficult, so you’re the outlier if you can do this well,” notes Richard.
If you need an attitude adjustment, here are some signs you need to change your attitude:
–Work on the mind 24/7. “You lie awake at night thinking about work. It means you have an unhealthy balance and perspective about what is truly important. Every now and then is fine, but all the time is not fine,” says Richard.
–Excuses, excuses, and more excuses. “You notice you are using bad habits to pass the time–smoking, frequent coffee breaks, excuses to run to the bathroom or leave early without a real reason,” Julieanne O’Connor, author of Spelling It Out for Your Career: Insider Secrets to Living Your Dreams & Passions, points out.
–You are being passed over. “You notice that others, even junior level colleagues, are consistently being promoted or given lead opportunities, and you are not,” explains career coach/psychologist Richard Orbé-Austin, a partner with Dynamic Transitions Psychological Consulting.
–You’re just not clicking with the rest of the staff. “You are getting into arguments with team members on a weekly basis. There is some level of argument that is healthy, but not on a consistent basis,” says Richard. Adds O’Connor, “You find you notice all the annoying and frustrating qualities of others.”
All’s not lost though. You can work on changing your attitude and this can make a major difference in your career and your career options. First, understand the reasons behind your bad attitude. “Identify the reasons for your bad attitude,” says Orbé-Austin. “Having a negative attitude is not beneficial to you but you may feel there is a reason for it. You may feel unfairly treated or underappreciated by your manager. Or you may feel unhappy about your current work role. Your bad attitude may be a reflection of your anger, frustration, or a defense mechanism. Once you realize the reason for your negative attitude, you should address it (e.g. talk to your manager about being given greater responsibilities), and begin to develop a more positive approach.”
Let your co-workers in. “Open up to others and be willing to be vulnerable to others. It will take an enormous amount of pent up stress off your shoulders,” says Richard.
Socialize with co-workers if possible. This doesn’t have to be an everyday–or even every week–event, but occasionally. “Organize get-togethers with team members outside of work. It helps you become a leader, and be seen as a key collaborator amongst your peers,” suggest Richard. Look at the good side of things rather than the negative–it can make a world of difference. “Remember, there is always a way to find gratitude for what you have if you’re willing to look at how good you have it. From there, you will attract bigger and better things. Appreciate your job and be kind to others. Doors will suddenly open in places you hadn’t dreamed. Your energy will get a natural boost. And you will find yourself enjoying your work,” O’Connor says. “Your attitude will, ultimately, be the direct cause of your career success. Though you may not see immediate results always, the more consistently you keep a positive attitude the quicker your successes will gain momentum.”
Get involved–engage and interact. “Ask more questions. In meetings, with your boss, and amongst your peers become more inquisitive. This will create healthier interactions, and it will draw you closer to your co-workers. People like to share, and you need to be ready to learn. If you do those two things, your attitude will naturally improve,” advises Richard.
Ask for guidance. “Seek honest feedback,” says Orbé-Austin. “It may be difficult to do, but ask trusted colleagues, or your supervisor, what their impressions of you are, what you could do to improve your performance and others’ perception of you. When receiving the feedback, refrain from being defensive.”
Be grateful. “Make a list of all the ways in which you are valuable and all the things you are grateful for,” says O’Connor. “Clarify the underlying reasons why you do what you do. You may want to put images of whatever it is that drives you in plain site as a reminder. Look for and actively make a note of the most incredible qualities you can find in all others. You will recognize your own good or bad qualities in others. Look only for the good.”