“Martha has so much going for her, but she could be doing so much more for herself.” How many people do you know or work with like that? What keeps us from getting to where we want to be or what we want to do? Sure, it may be a lack of the right skills, bad luck, having other goals, or just being plain lazy.
More likely, however, the answer is elsewhere and much closer to home. We can call them “everyday” attitudes that are so much a part of us we don’t know the damage they’re doing. Here are some of them:
1. “For what I get paid, I do more than enough.” Surprise! You’re probably right. With so much pressure, it’s easy to feel this way today. Even so, it’s the attitude that’s the problem. Otherwise pleasant people become angry, obstinate, negative, and alienated. It’s not the way to move ahead — or even stay where you are.
2. “I’ve put in my time and paid my dues. Now, its my turn.” It may be a choice parking space, extra time off, a plum territory, a promotion, or bigger accounts. It doesn’t make any difference what it is; it’s easy to spot someone with a chip on their shoulder. Their attitude sends the unmistakable message that this person thinks they are special or entitled.
3. “Sorry, but I’m really busy right now. Can’t you get someone else?” When asked to step in and help solve a problem, work on a project, develop a plan, or handle a difficult situation, some people make it clear that they can’t be counted on when needed.
4. “They’ll see what happens when I leave. It’ll take three people to replace me.” Even though we know that no one is indispensable, it’s tough for some people to get past the idea that they are the one exception. If asked, they’re quick to let it be known that they carry far more than their share of the load. Those around them often see it quite differently.
5. “Whoa! There’s only so much I can do.” It’s like the parent who installs a “speed limiter” on their kid’s car — only so fast and that’s it. Others put self-imposed limits on what they can or will do. By always playing it safe, they deny themselves the opportunity to see how much they can accomplish.
6. “With so many meetings, I can’t get my work done.” You’re not alone if you feel this way. Companies are plagued with meeting mania that wastes time and creates stress. Don’t complain; do something about it. Take a “how we can improve it?” approach: meeting alternatives, requiring agendas that go to participants beforehand, stand up sessions, setting time limits, and three-question participation evaluations.
7. “That’s not my job.” Not long ago, “silos” was at the top of the corporate jargon list — work groups, units, departments, and divisions operating totally separate from others. But countless individuals wall themselves off as if they are completely isolated from the organization. They “write their own job description” and stick to it.
Next page: problem attitudes 8-14
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