Work for a cause, not for applause: how to improve your leadership attitude

3 minute read
Roman leader Julius Caesar had a positive one. Caligula had a negative one. Meanwhile infamous emperor Nero had a neutral one. What are we talking about? Why attitude of course. So whose attitude would you like to emulate? Professor MS Rao offers techniques to improve your attitude using the 5Es to excel as a leader
MS Rao

Julius Caesar had a positive attitude

In the 20th century, a lot of research was done to find out what made people successful. It was revealed that it was their attitude that made them successful. Attitude is the main thing that is considered for success everywhere. It outsmarts intelligence, experience, abilities, skills and capabilities. During the employment interview, the recruiters look for attitude in the candidates. There is a slogan in HR circles: ‘Hire for attitude, train for skill.’

Attitude is the way people look at individuals, events, circumstances and situations. A positive attitude is the ability to remain positive despite encountering several challenges. It is to accept the realities and remain positive and confident without getting provoked or irritated. A positive attitude increases your self-awareness and helps you understand what is under your control and what is not under your control. You accept the external circumstances that are beyond your control and learn to live with them with optimism. It breaks barriers and builds bridges. It promotes fraternity and brotherhood. You empathize with others and build compassion to excel as a compassionate leader.

Positive attitude versus negative attitude

Individuals with a positive attitude think that everything happens for a reason and all of that happens for good, whereas individuals with a negative attitude think that it is the end of the road when things don't fall into place. Individuals with a positive attitude explore opportunities from threats, whereas individuals with a negative attitude explore threats from opportunities. Individuals with a positive attitude look at the rising sun, whereas individuals with a negative attitude look at the setting sun. Individuals with a positive attitude look at the silver lining behind the dark cloud whereas individuals with a negative attitude look at the dark cloud. Individuals with a positive attitude are part of the solutions, not the problems, whereas individuals with a negative attitude are part of the problems, not the solutions. In a nutshell, individuals with a positive attitude are optimistic, with a growth mindset, whereas individuals with a negative attitude are pessimistic, with a fixed mindset.  

Individuals with a positive attitude are confident, optimistic, tolerant, flexible, adaptable, responsible, reliable and humble. In contrast, individuals with a negative attitude are envious, pessimistic, feel inferior to others and often spread hatred to others. Individuals with a neutral attitude are disconnected, detached, indifferent and unemotional. When you look at the Roman leader Julius Caesar, he had a positive attitude while Caligula had a negative attitude and Nero had a neutral attitude. 

Attitude with examples and illustrations

Attitude is your ability to appreciate even your enemies when they do better than you. Winston Churchill once remarked: “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Attitude matters more in the current volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world. It is essential in campus and corporate, as the negative attitude often kills productivity and performance in the workplace, and the negative attitude shells out unhealthy students from the educational institutions. Therefore, it is essential to emphasize the importance of inculcating a positive attitude in individuals.   

There is often a thin line that separates positive and negative attitudes. When individuals cross that thin line they can become successful leaders. When you look at Obama and Osama they are and were great leaders, but Obama has a positive attitude while Osama had a negative attitude. Undoubtedly, both are and were intelligent, but the former possessed a positive attitude while the latter possessed a negative attitude.

Tools and techniques to improve your attitude

Here are some tips to improve your attitude. Be positive. Visualize success. Set your goals so that they remove negative thoughts from your mind and replace them with positive thoughts. Additionally, you should be engaged constructively to lead your life with purpose and meaning. Surround yourself with positive and healthy people. Read good books. Learn, unlearn and relearn. Learn from your failures. Pursue your passions and hobbies to engage your mind creatively. Acquire healthy habits. Do meditation or yoga or hit the gym regularly. Eat the right and healthy food. Stop complaining, criticizing and condemning others. Be a giver, not a taker. Come out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself. Become a volunteer. Join non-profits to serve others. Work for a cause, not for applause. Express your gratitude every day. 

Improve your attitude with 5Es 

Attitude is the foundation of your success. It is essential to excel as a leader. The lion is the king of the jungle not because of its strength but because of its attitude. Eagle is the leader among all birds not because of its size but because of its attitude. You can improve your attitude with 5Es – education, experience, environment, empathy and ethics. Emphasize the right education, experience, healthy environment, empathy, and ethics.  Surround yourself with healthy friends and inspiring books. No matter where you come from you can improve your attitude by emphasizing these 5Es. To conclude, improve your attitude to excel as a leader and soar like an eagle.

Published 22 September 2021
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