Attitude Reflects Leadership…Captain

“Leadership is the exercise of influence by one member of a group or organization over other members to help the group or organization achieve its goals.”

“Attitude reflects leadership…Captain” This is definitely one of my favorite movie quotes that sends a clear message to those of us who are the captains, the leaders in various settings. What’s the message? The simple answer – we have the ability to affect the attitudes of those under our leadership. Do agree with that answer?

What’s the temperature in your organization? Are your team members ducking you? Are they fearful of you? Are they excited to be around you? What are they accomplishing? The goals and objectives you’ve set or do they have another agenda? Are you scratching your head trying to figure out what else you need to do to get them excited and motivated to do the job?

As a leader do you believe that the attitude of your team is a direct reflection of your leadership style? Ultimately only you can answer that question. What I will say is as leaders we set the tone in the organizations we run. We determine the organizational climate and we reflect the value system within the organization. We have the ability to INFLUENCE the attitude of those we work with every single day. Whether you agree with me or not, as leaders we set the culture and climate of the organization.

Listen, my thoughts by no means minimize the attitudes people bring to work every day in spite of the organizational culture and climate. I absolutely believe that we are all accountable for our attitudes, our choices and how we respond to what happens to us and around us. But as leaders we must be accountable for our contribution to the health and well-being of those we lead by the way we do what we do as leaders in the organization.

For Novices: Consider the analogy of a garden. If you are the head Gardner, the captain – you are responsible for nurturing the soil, caring for the plants. Ensuring that there is enough water to feed the root system so that your plants (your people) can grow to be the best plants they can be and at the same time, you ultimately meet the goals and objectives set by your organization. In other words you produce the “bounty” your garden is intended to produce. Remember you will have some difficult plants in your garden. You may not be able nurture all of them but create a healthy environment so that all who want to flourish and grow can do so.

For Seasoned Leaders: The best recommendation I can make for you is to take some time and assess your organization. Whether you are leading a team of people or a large department, STOP. Do a pulse check. Ask questions and listen objectively. Are your people healthy or do they need an attitude adjustment? You take responsibility for what you have allowed in the culture and climate. And then, challenge your team to take responsibility for their contribution. Then, reset and keep moving forward! Sometimes you have to prune the garden to get back to the soil. Don’t be afraid to begin again!

Attitude reflects leadership…Captain!” Yes or no? You decide!




You Will Make Mistakes!

If you think you are exempt from mistakes, you are mistaken and you need to move away from that thought. So many times when I work with leaders, they beat themselves up for the mistakes they make. Many times young leaders struggle to move forward when they make a mistake. But you must remember that leaders make mistakes too! Whether you are a seasoned leader or a novice, you will make mistakes as you attempt to lead people and processes!

Again, you will make mistakes. Prepare for making mistakes. Have a strategy to help move yourself from focusing on the mistake to looking at moving forward. Keep in mind that you might not be able to fix all of your mistakes. The ones that are repairable, fix them. The ones that are not, learn from them and keep moving forward. Don’t get stuck in your mistakes and don’t let others hold you hostage to your mistakes.

  • Acknowledge your mistakes
  • Assess your mistakes and how you got there
  • Assess the lessons, and LEARN from the mistake(s)

Here are a few mistakes that leaders make that you can actually work through with time as you grow as a leader:

1. Failure to Clarify Expectations – I believe this is the number one mistake that leaders make. They fail to clarify expectations with people. As a result misunderstandings happen, frustration with people because of incomplete or incorrect work product, confusion about who does what by when…leaving people pointing fingers and confusion about accountability. Solution: Ensure you take the time to clarify expectations with anyone on your team or project. Clarify roles and deadlines. And then follow-up. Lastly hold people accountable to expectations that are clear.

2. Failure to Understand What Moves or Motivates People – Many times leaders misunderstand what drives the people working for or with them. Solution: It is critical for you as a leader to get to know your people. What moves them and motivates them? What are their strengths and growth opportunities? What frustrates them? What is happening in their life that might affect what is happening in your organization or with your project? You have to know the answer to these and other questions or you will frustrate your people and may be the cause of frustration and breakdowns in communication.

For Novices & Seasoned Leaders: Learn from the mistakes you make. Take responsibility for them and don’t blame others. Take ownership and be transparent about your mistakes. Look at the mistakes as teachable moments, and in the due season of your life, opportunities will come up for you to retake the test and demonstrate that you have learned from your mistakes.

Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.” – Conrad Hilton