The Importance of
Attitudes in Leadership
Brandon Kessler
Brendia Morrison
Phil Bolton
Virginia Leonard
Jim Browning
Defining Attitude
• manner, disposition, feeling,
position, etc. with regard to a person
or thing; tendency or orientation,
especially of the mind.
(Webster online dictionary, 2009)
How are attitudes formed?
• Natural disposition
• Formed through relationships /
experiences
– “parents are our first teachers”
(Bevilacqua, 2009)
Elements of Attitude
•
•
•
•
Individuality
Background
Personal Choice
Thought Patterns
(Stanton et al., 2009)
Attitude
Behavior
(Stanton et al., 2009)
Developing your attitude in terms of
leadership:
• Task orientation
– Directive Attitude
• Employee orientation
– Supportive Attitude
(Vecchio, 1988)
(Zigarmi et al., 1986)
Developing your attitude is
important!
How do you lead your group? What is your attitude to both them and the task at hand?
Country Club Management
Team Management
Supporting
Coaching
Impoverished Management
Authority / Obedience Management
Delegating
Directing
•Impoverished Management
•(low concern for the task, low concern for people)
•Country Club Management
• (low concern for the task, high concern for the people)
•Authority/Obedience Management
•(high concern for task, low concern for people)
•Team Management
• (high concern for task, high concern for people)
(Vecchio, 1988) (Zigarmi et al., 1986)
Attitude Components and Dynamics
BELIEFS
about a
referent or
Object
ATTITUDE
toward
referent
or
object
INTENTIONS
to
behave
VALUES
Held as
important
(Carter-Scott et al., 2004)
OBSERVABLE
BEHAVIOR
Development: Are we really
who we should be?
Attitude
Knowledge
Conscience
Choices
Attitude is Everything
Attitude
“Everything can be taken from a
man but one thing, the last of the
human freedoms – to choose
one’s attitude in any given set of
circumstances, to choose one’s
own way.”
Victor Frankl
(Carter-Scott et al., 2004)
The Right Attitude…
•
•
•
•
•
determines how you view things.
quality of your life.
how you view life.
how we face adversity.
how face obstacles.
(Carter-Scott et al., 2004)
Attitude Facts
• Estimated that Success is 80% Attitude and
20% Aptitude
• Positive Mental Attitude
– Enriches your Personal Life
– Your Relationships
– Your Career
• Positive Outlook – the difference between
enjoying what you do or simply tolerating it.
(Thomas, 1998)
Example of the Learning and Expression of
Attitude toward Work and Career
Father Was
Never Late or
Unnecessarily
Absent From his
Job
Current Job with
High Pay and
Good Promotion
Prospects
Positive
Experiences
With Past and
Present
Supervisors
Help,
Encouragement &
Rewards From
Teachers
Parents Involve
Child with
Interesting Work
Projects at
Home
Mother Won an
Award for
Helping Her
Company in an
Emergency
Affective
and
Cognitive
Components
of the
Attitudes
Many
Opportunities to
Socialize With
Successful People
(Carter-Scott et al., 2004)
Strong Positive
Attitudes Toward
Work and
Career
Attributes of Leaders with a
Positive Attitude
• A person of value
• Creates a positive action plan to meet goals
• Beliefs – instill these into the people around you
– demonstrate through action
• Provide intellectual nutrition and transform
minds
(Harrell, 2003)
Attributes of Leaders with a
Positive Attitude cont.
•
•
•
•
•
Be passionate about what you do
The right attitude creates opportunity
The right attitude motivates others
Inspire others
Lead yourself first
(Harrell, 2003)
Leaders Lead Themselves First
• Identify your own SWOT
– Strengths
– Weaknesses
– Opportunities
– Threat
• P A T – Principle of Successful Leadership
– Passion
– Approachability
– Thoughtfulness
(Harrell, 2003)
Leaders Lead Themselves First
• “Loose lead” – lead by example
• “Pull leadership” – leading the way
shows the way
• Avoid “push leadership” – pushing
others while you remain idle
(Harrell, 2003)
Attitude – Put It Into Practice
• Attitude About Yourself:
– Hopeful vs. Helpless
– Dream vs. Doubt
• Attitude About Others:
– Strengths vs. Flaws
– Accepting vs. Judging
• Attitude About the World:
– Opportunities vs. Problems
– Embracing vs. Resisting
(Ursiny et al., 2008)
10 Steps to a Positive Attitude
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Keep Your Life Balanced
Don’t Give Up
Make the Most of the Situation
Engage in Positive Self-Talk
Visualize Success
Attack Problems Head-On
Look for the Bright Side
Maintain a Sense of Humor
Make Work Fun
Accentuate the Positives
(Fritz, 2008)
Attitude
The connection between the mind, heart, and body.
(Ursiny et al., 2008)
Impact of Attitude
Impact
Impact is Influence
Influence - to produce an effect on
by imperceptible or intangible
means; sway.
(American Heritage Dictionary)
Leaders as Influencers
Skilled Influencers
• Help their followers transform their
attitudes toward a behavior
• Help followers see the implications of their
actions and choices
• Help followers become personally motivated
to enact new behaviors
(Grenny et al., 2008)
Leaders as Influencers
Ineffective Influencers
• Assume there is no way to change followers
attitudes toward a behavior
• Compensate for lack of personal motivation
by:
– Pressuring & Forcing
• Peer Pressure
– Bribing and Threatening
• Carrots & Sticks
(Grenny et al., 2008)
Impact
A critical part of attitude is empowerment
Equipping followers with authority and abilities
Attitude Predicates and Dictates Performance
Good Attitude = Good Performance
Poor Attitude = Poor Performance
Positive Mental Attitude is Contagious
Unfortunately, so is a bad attitude
(Lutz, 2005)
Impact
Attitude is often the deciding
factor in new hires
An applicant who:
- Gets along well with others
- Handles pressure and stress
- Demonstrates a pleasant personality and
attitude
…is more likely to do a good job than one
lacking those qualities.
(Weiss, 2001)
As Albert Einstein put it: “Setting an
example is not the main means of
influencing another, it is the only
means.”
(Garrett, 2001)
Attitude Limitations
5 Crippling Habits:
Are they attacking your organization?
•
•
•
•
•
Absence of Clear Directives
Lack of Accountability
Rationalizing Inferior Performance
Planning in Lieu of Action
Aversion to Risk and Change
(Prosen, 2006)
Communication in the
Workplace
• Nonverbal Communication Sends
Messages
– Body language
– Facial expression
– Vocal intonation
• Everyday Attitudes, Behaviors, and
Decisions
– What employees see
(Lee, 2008)
Do Actions Speak Louder Than
Words?
• Powerful communication tool
– Attitudes
– Behaviors
• Managers/Leaders usually do not plan for
this
– Missed Opportunity
• Attitudes/Behaviors are displayed daily
– Day-to-day choices
– Habits
– Expectations and biases
– Hunches
(Lee, 2008)
How to Reinforce the Vision or
Influence Attitude
•Leadership Behaviors
•Visibility
•Personnel Choices
•Use of Time
•Presence and Accessibility
“All good performance starts with clear goals.”
Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
(Lee, 2008)
What May Limit Your Skills?
Poor work ethic/poor quality work
Unprofessional behavior
Negative attitude
Unwilling/unable to learn new things
Lack of commitment
Poor communication skills
Acting arrogantly
Unreceptive to feedback/unwilling to take
responsibility for mistakes
• Lack of leadership/client service abilities
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
(Ivancevich, 2009)
“The key to developing people is to catch them doing something right.”
Ken Blanchard Spencer Johnson
The One Minute Leader
(Blanchard, 2007)
Changes in Attitude………
From Above, Below, Sideways………….
…..The floggings will continue until morale improves…
Solution: Mutiny
……….Changes in Latitudes, changes in attitudes……
Solution: Margaritaville
………………..You can take this job and shove it…….
Solution: Lottery
(Buffett, 1977)
(Coe, 1976)
Attitude vs. Leadership Styles
• Transactional
Some Perceptions….
• Transformational
…….we have explored
Measure of Leadership
How you perceive yourself
And
How others perceive You
Transactional
Transformational
Influence
Your Effectiveness
In Leadership
Your Behavior and
the Behavior of
Others
Attitudes
(Maxwell, 2005)
The Research
• Significant amount of material on
work attitudes and behaviors
• Many different conclusions
• Many different definitions of
“attitude”
–
–
–
–
Values Attitudes Moods (VAM) Model
Attitude Structure
Meaning at Work
numerous others………….
(George et al., 1997)
(Olson et al., 1993)
(Epps, 2003)
What to Change……
• Influences on Attitude
– How you view your environment
– How you view the people around you
– How the people around you view you
• Indicators:
– Job Satisfaction
– Job Involvement
– Organizational Commitment
(George et al., 1997)
Attitude Change Potential
• Potential for change is dependent on
personality traits and baseline
attitudes
– Ability to deal positively with
change
– Curmudgeon Factor
(George et al., 1997)
(Epps, 2003)
Changing Attitudes
Current State
Future State
Environment
Negative
Influence
Environment
Factors Negated
Perception:
Credibility
Issues
Perceptions
Corrected:
Credibility
Established!
Bad Attitudes,
Not meeting
Requirements
-Social Loafing
Practically Perfect ……
…………..in every way!
Happy and
Productive
(George et al., 1997) (Stevenson et al., 1964)
No Simple Answers
• Attitudes are based on
multidimensional, individual
personalities and situations
– Current environments
– Current organizational culture
– Current career point and expectations
36 Basic Values, Hundreds of Attitudes……
(Rokeach, 1973)
Up
Across
Down
Ideas for Change
Indicators
Action
Negative Attitude
Body Language/Facial Expressions
Verbal Comments
Social Loafing
Absenteeism
Communicate
Listen
Look for Obvious Cause
Encourage/ Assist
Change the environment
Re-assign/ Remove
Positive Attitude
Body Language/Facial Expressions
Verbal Comments
Communicator & Listener
Commitment/Achievement
Mentors and Trains
(George et al., 1997)
(Stevenson et al., 1973)
Recognize & Acknowledge
Challenge & Stretch
Expand Responsibilities
Reward & Promote
Mentor Others
(Epps, 2003) (Maxwell, 2005)
5 Steps to Changing Your
Attitude
•
Step 1: Learn More – the more you know
positive attitude
success
•
Step 2: Identify the Pitfalls – identify unknown factors
examine fears
•
Step 3: Learn Positive Self-Talk – creates
self-image,
level of self-esteem, self-confidence, and your attitude
•
Step 4: Make Daily Affirmations – repeat your goals daily
•
Step 5: Surround Yourself with Positive People – close your
mind to negativity
(Carter-Scott et al., 2004)
confidence
Attitude Change - Summary
• Attitude is Critically Important in
Effective Leadership
• You must understand What drives
attitudes on your team in order
determine How you can make
changes
– Multitude of factors influence attitude
– Some people are easily influenced
– Some people will never change
References
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The Importance of Attitudes in Leadership