Leadership is about attitude. Check your attitude at the door.

July 14, 2008

IStock_000002913699Small-2 Literally. Attitude is everything. Before you step into your next meeting or walk through the door of your office, check your attitude. Are you relaxed or are you stressed out? Are you tight-lipped because you’re still irritated by that last phone call with opposing counsel or are you ready to smile? Are you already smiling?

Whatever your attitude, good or bad, it’s your choice. Leaders are expected to do a good job of controlling their emotions and attitudes. Here’s the good news; you can make a conscious decision to change your attitude at any time. As a leader, it’s your job to model the kinds of attitudes and behaviors you want to encourage in your team.

Look at the culture of your office, is it positive or negative? Whatever the culture, environment or mood, it is a reflection of the leadership. Understand that, as a leader, you are being watched – all the time. Everything you do matters. Everything.

You set the tone for your office. So, make a conscious choice to set a good tone. In the words of Winston Churchill, “If you can’t laugh, smile. If you can’t smile, grin. If you can’t grin, stay out of the way until you can.”

Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for his stance against apartheid in South Africa, knows the value of a smile. During his run for president of the ANC, his election poster was simply his smiling face. According to an article in the current issue of Time Magazine, “There were a thousand things Nelson Mandela was bitter about, but he knew more than anything else, he had to project the exact opposite emotion.”

Mandela’s experience is a powerful lesson for all leaders.

Click here to read Mandela’s 8 Lessons of Leadership at Time Magazine online.

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