In today’s ever-evolving business world, those with varied job-related skills are often in high demand. Unfortunately, many people complain that schools are not preparing workers for today’s business environment or with the skills that are needed.
This problem is also evident in the trades. Fewer young people are looking for work as plumbers, electricians, and the like. It’s interesting, then, when I hear small business owners in those industries talk about the problems with hiring trained and experienced people. Yes, they have the skills, but they also have bad habits. And in particular, may have bad attitudes, expectations and a sense of entitlement.
To combat that, many owners of small businesses are hiring people solely if they don’t have one those “problem” areas: attitude. When a candidate has the right attitude and displays aptitude, they are picked up out of the pool of applicants.
THESE PROFESSIONALS HAVE IT RIGHT. You can train someone with a good attitude who wants to learn and be successful. But you can’t often mold and reshape someone with bad habits or a poor attitude. Trying to do the latter is less successful and definitely more stressful.
HIRING ISN’T THE ONLY PLACE TO APPLY THIS PHILOSOPHY. Smart managers will also apply it to developing strategic relationships and partnerships. Success breeds success. And as the expression says, you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with—so choose wisely.
Here are six elements of a good attitude you will want from all of the people around you:
- DESIRE TO LEARN. People with a good attitude watch successful people and study them. They continually seek new skills and strategies. Inherent to learning is changing behaviors. These people don’t just archive information, they apply it.
- POSITIVE APPROACH TO PROBLEMS. When something goes wrong, they don’t play the blame game. Instead, they treat it as a challenge to dissect, improve, and resolve the issue so it does not happen again.
- TAKE ACTION. It’s not all talk. They take steps to develop and then implement. They are movers and make things happen.
- MENTAL TOUGHNESS. When things go awry (and they will) people with a good attitude have the ability to not take it as a personal affront or attack. If needed, they will take responsibility and be accountable, but then push beyond themselves to turn it around. Failures are challenges and speedbumps for these people.
- OPEN MINDEDNESS. There are several ways to approach every problem, task and situation. When someone can look at things from various perspectives, understanding and outcomes improve. Flexibility is critical to a developing company.
- TEAM PLAYER. They can communicate and collaborate with others to create innovative solutions that work; or be part of a brain trust to develop new products and services that are ahead of the market. The success of the team matters most to great team members.
One thing to remember here. Not only are you looking for staff and partners to have these attributes, it’s important that we as small business owners have them, too. So take a look in the mirror. Which are your strengths, which challenge you?
Ask the people you trust most to go through that exercise with you. Sometimes we are blind to what we portray to others. It’s like that old saying about intentions…we may work things out in our heads and see them one way when others don’t see the actions built on our thoughts.
A good attitude is among the most valuable resources you can have in your business. Cultivate it. Promote it. And ensure that you hire for it!