Naming and claiming your attitude to work
By Karen Schmidt
Work can bring out the best and the worst in people. I’ve spent years observing people at work and I never cease to be amazed at the different attitudes they take. Give two people the same task and watch what happens. Some are really positive, some neutral and others are downright negative.
They say the first step in solving a problem is naming it so I’ve tried to put a name to each of the negative attitudes I’ve encountered to help me deal with them. Maybe it will help you deal with them too.
The Lounge Lizard
Their motto is “work expands to fill the time available”. Often found with the feet on the desk, their head pointed towards the computer as if they are working on some important project when really they are playing computer games.
With their hand on the wheel and their eyes focused on keeping the horizon in sight, they will do anything to avoid rocking the boat. The status quo is all that matters and their mission is to maintain it at all costs.
Like a professional boxer they always have their hands up ready to defend themselves from attack. They see the workplace as a battle ground and there can only be one winner – them. Whether it’s workers v management, sales v accounts or Brisbane v Sydney, they are never short of an enemy to destroy.
Blank facial expression, no spark of interest in their eyes, the Robot is simply going through the motions. Ask them why and they will tell you “they don’t pay me to think just to do as I’m told” and that is exactly what they do - only what they’re told.
Let’s spend, spend, spend is their motto. It’s not their money so what does it matter. The boss/company/government has plenty of it and they won’t notice where it goes. If taking the first quote reduces their workload – even better.
Whilst these descriptions are amusing they are also damaging . . . damaging to the organisation, damaging to the individual and damaging to the people around them. These attitudes have an affect on other areas of your life and if left unchecked can lead to a permanently negative outlook.
I’m on a mission to rid the workplace of these attitudes and I want you to help me. Start by taking a good look at your own work practices to see if you occasionally slip into any of these traps. Then replace these negative attitudes with some of the following positive approaches to work.
The Goal Kicker
With their sights set firmly on the goal they focus their efforts on achieving a score that will help the team win the game. They know that when you have a target to reach you can cope with any obstacles in their way.
A dash of salt here, a sprinkle of spice there and the Chef has put together just the right combination of ingredients to make the workplace into a well balanced meal. Their role is to help others work together to achieve a magic mix that creates workplace harmony.
An experienced person who enjoys seeing younger or newer staff members grow and learn. They provide water, sunlight and fertiliser in the form of advice, assistance and encouragement. The result is an organisation full of people blooming with ideas, enthusiasm and life!
Providing care and compassion to their patients or customers, the Nurse understands the importance of treating people with dignity. Their role is to ensure people are comfortable dealing with the organisation and go away having had a positive experience.
Always on the lookout for better ways to do things, the Detective regularly pulls out their magnifying glass and puts company policies and procedures under the microscope. Their objective is to make small but significant improvements.
Doesn’t that sound more like the kind of place where you’d like to work? The question is what can you do, starting today, to ensure that your organisation is populated by more people with these positive, productive attitudes? The answer . . . by setting an example. Go on, try out a new attitude, see what happens.
About the Author: Karen Schmidt is an award winning professional speaker, workshop leader and author who is on a mission to create fresh workplace attitudes that help people and organisations grow!. Karen believes you can increase productivity and bottom line results if your people have the right attitude in 5 key areas of: work, change, customers, people and managing. To find out more visit
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