“Your Attitude affects your Altitude”…an unpopular phrase most likely because It’s the kind of thing people end up hearing when they’re in a bad mood. But it just happens to be true that your attitude directly affects your success in work (e.g. promotions and raises—meaning you’re going up the ladder), and life.
When you have a good attitude, others around you can more easily enjoy your company. Opinions other people have about you are largely based on how you make them feel. Those opinions can influence whether you get (or keep) your position as well as decisions about promotions and raises.
No matter how well you perform the basic functions of your position, if no one wants to be around you, and time spent around you is tainted by bad feelings, only the most negative opinions will be expressed in your performance reviews. It’s also hard to build a network and get references when the people who work with you have negative feelings about you.
The good news—even if you think you’ve burned bridges with your behavior in the past, you can still change their opinions about you.
How you say it
Body language and vocal inflections say far more than your words. Practice talking (yes, that means out-loud) to your co-workers and asking for help in the mirror (or check your smartphone or webcam for recording options) to notice how you’re being perceived by others. Practice makes perfect—and it can keep you more mindful of how others see you. In other words, smile more!
Find something to like about your boss, co-workers, clients, position, or field. If you make a positive change in the way you think about the people you work for (or work with), it can change the way you relate to them by first diminishing your negative thoughts. At the very least, being thankful for the position you have (considering how many others in this recession are unemployed) can be a starting point. This can make it a lot easier to smile more.
Document your accomplishments
Keeping track of your work and results is a great way to feel better about your abilities and accomplishments—it’s the basis of a résumé, cover letter, networking, interviews and more! Documenting critical information about how you make or save money for your employer will be valuable in the (near) future!
Ask your co-workers for tips on how to increase your efficiency. Starting with a compliment increases your chance of getting the help you need. Addressing someone by name makes the interaction more personal. Complimenting others—showing them that you appreciate them and have noticed their hard work—can also increase their opinion of you. Examples:
- “Paul, you seem to get your work done so quickly. How do you do it?”
- “Paul, I’d really appreciate it if you could spare a few minutes to show me how you do your work so quickly.”
DON’T FORGET to THANK your co-worker for their help! That’s why cultivating an attitude of thankfulness will help you in many ways. Remembering to thank others will come naturally. It’s not another task to remember; it’s part of the positive person you’re becoming.
Your workload may be unique in your area, or at least different enough to make it hard to find someone else who can provide good examples or training. In this case, you should talk to your boss (e.g. supervisor, manager, or whoever is in charge of training/evaluating your performance). Examples:
- “Debbie (or Ms. Hamilton if you’re not on a first name basis), I’m interested in increasing my efficiency. What should I do differently?”
- “Debbie, I’m trying to do improve my performance, and I’d appreciate it if you could give me a few tips.”
DON’T FORGET to THANK your boss for their help!
Having more than one “boss” is a common problem. If you have a main boss, but work with another department, you’ve likely been tasked with more than a standard workload. Many people find it difficult to speak up about being overworked because they fear it would make them look bad; thinking it could be construed as whining.
What’s worse—asking for help (the right way, which reduces—and can eliminate—the probability of seeming whiny) or having a bad performance review because you’re overworked and unable to produce high-quality, high-quantity results? Reviewing your workload can also lead your boss to realize your other talents—which could lead to a promotion. An example of asking for help the right way:
- Debbie, since I’m working for both our department and the Accounting department, I’d be so grateful if we could take a look at my workload to figure out some ways to improve my efficiency with our department’s work and my Accounting duties.
DON’T FORGET to THANK your boss for their help!
It’s a great way to point out to your boss that you’re being asked to do more than the work she assigns to you. There’s a good chance Debbie will work with one of the bosses at the other department to change your workload. Also, Debbie might be more understanding if you make a mistake or need additional time for one of her assignments. Out of sight is out of mind—it’s possible your boss isn’t aware that you’re working a regular workload for her plus a heavy load for the other department. By bringing your additional duties to your boss’ attention, she could be more understanding to your situation.
When employees feel their bosses are taking advantage of them, it’s hard to have a good attitude at work. But during a recession, it’s possible that everyone around you is overworked and that your workload is more equal with your co-workers than you previously thought. Finding out that you’re not being singled out and having your boss dump all the lousiest tasks on you could be the information you needed in order to feel better about your workload.
It’s also possible that your company isn’t doing very well and they’re short-staffed due to budget issues. Or, your company is taking advantage of the recession—decreased options for workers means employers have even more of an upper hand in the jobsearch. If you feel the grass is greener elsewhere, it’s important to have good references for your jobsearch. In this case, having a good attitude means your good references will make it easier to elevate your altitude at a new company.
Altitude (Raises and Promotions)
Now that you’ve (hopefully) elevated your attitude, it’s time to elevate your altitude. Climbing the ladder is a lot easier when your boss is on your side, or at least not working against you.
If you’ve documented your accomplishments (as mentioned previously in this post), you will have proof of your worth to your employer. Without proving WHY you’re worth the specific amount you want for a raise, it can be difficult to justify that expenditure to your employer. It’s never a bad time to update your résumé so that you can provide this information. Making such an effort also proves your motivation.
Likewise, when asking for a promotion, you need to have some proof that you’re capable of new responsibilities. Having your accomplishments documented on a résumé (and backed up with a portfolio if possible) may be required for promotions (as your employer might need documentation if another employee feels he or she was more qualified).
Positive change can be difficult; maintaining a new attitude can be challenging as well. For personalized help with these issues, contact CrossRoads at 317-842-8881 for an appointment today.