Many of us are familiar with the inspirational phrase, "your attitude determines your altitude." In the worlds of human resources and management, this phrase holds much truth. In this issue of Astronology, we take an in-depth look into managerial attitudes, and how they affect the overall health and functioning of an organization. Not all administrators have the warmest or most charming personalities in the workplace. For instance, in a high-paced, deadline driven work environment, managers may be more focused on the bottom line than on being personable. Regardless of the environment, the attitude directed toward employees when giving instructions, commendations, and / or recommendations can speak volumes to the employees about their manager and his / her leadership abilities. One E-Zine article noted, "Your attitude in the workplace can be one of the most - if not the most - telling aspect of how others in the company look at you and feel about you as a coworker."
To further this statement, in 2004 the National Bureau of Economic Research published a paper that suggested a strong correlation between employee satisfaction and productivity and an organization's management team's attitude toward those employees. Two results from the paper's two year study of multiple branches of a major U.S. bank were the following:
• Good teamwork occurred when the supervisor actively encouraged teamwork among group members, encouraged continuous improvement, and demonstrated by day-to-day decisions that quality was a top priority.
• The employees with positive attitudes reported that their supervisors listened to their ideas and concerns, gave them regular feedback about their performance, and respected them.
-"What's with the Attitude? Improving Employee-Manager Relations"
Clearly, getting an understanding of what type of attitude we should carry within our organization is vitally important. The wrong attitude can stifle organizational production, while the right attitude can stimulate a happy workplace and necessary productivity.
What's Your Attitude?
A manager with a negative attitude, according to a February 2007 AG Decision Maker Newsletter, will instantly reject new ideas once they are presented. Managers with negative attitudes are frequently noted for instantly dismissing suggestions instead of engaging full discussion on new ideas. As a result, employees may feel as though their voices do not count, and that good ideas are being passed over. Such an attitude will be counterproductive to any attempted growth within an organization.
A manager with a reactive attitude believes, "If I ignore it, it will go away." Many who take this approach avoid change, as they view change as being too complex to understand. When a problem is no longer avoidable, the manager will have limited opportunities to solve the problem. Operating from a reactive position often results in decision making that negatively affects the organization, damaging how employees view their manager.
Many view the planning attitude as the perfect attitude for managers to have. As a management process, planning involves anticipating change - whether positive or negative - being prepared for such changes, defining goals, and sketching an action map to achieve these goals. Since the act of planning is a key process in management, any manager who cultivates a planning attitude is on their way to success!
"It's not my fault! They were out to get me!" Such are the responses of managers that carry a victim attitude. According to AG Decision Maker Newsletter, this attitude is "popular because it allows us to abdicate the consequences of our decisions, especially when they turn out badly." The victim attitude is a counterproductive attitude because the manager relinquishes his / her leadership role in order to play "the blame game." How can an employee follow directions from a manager who cannot seem to hold themselves responsible for any of their decisions? Such an attitude can prove disastrous for any organization.
The word "entrepreneur" is synonymous with "innovator." The AG Decision Maker Newsletter highlighted that a manager with an entrepreneurial attitude "searches for opportunities and innovative ways of taking advantage of these opportunities." The flexibility and creativity that an innovator brings to an organization alleviates pressure generated in any sort of workplace environment...from the most chaotic environments to the slowest. Such managers encourage input from others so employees feel included in the growth of the organization. Such an attitude from a manager is important for success!
While there are many attitudes that a manager can choose to develop, it is very important to reflect on the overall status of your organization first. Recent studies demonstrate that the attitude a manager possesses is directly linked to employee morale and overall organizational productivity. Take note today regarding whether the present attitude you carry as a leader is damaging or aiding long-term organizational success. No matter where you're starting from, striving towards a hybrid planning and entrepreneurial attitude should prove helpful for your organization's, your employees', and your own personal growth.