In the “C-suite” there is no way that you are immune to flu outbreaks and viruses. The kids are back to school and often bringing home some germs to share with your family. In a leadership development program I was teaching for the C-Suite of a large healthcare organization, I was talking with the Chief Nursing Officer and asked her how they prepare or deal with illnesses in the workplace. She answered that they tell people not to come to the emergency room, so as not to spread the germs.
Could you imagine if you had the opportunity to tell some of your co-workers, “Don’t come to work today! We don’t want your germs.”
While flu germs are nasty and easily spread, I’m talking about the “negativity germ,” which is contagious just like a flu virus.
When you lead a team of people, you wield significant influence – and not just within your department. What kind of germs are you spreading? We are all spreading viruses whether we realize it or not. Your leadership influence extends well beyond your direct reports and may reach many others within and outside of your organization. Due to your prestigious position, people figure you are in the know. If you are grouchy and distracted, they figure you must know something that they don’t know. Employees assume the worst and start worrying about what could be wrong. Your negative attitude will certainly rub off on others and spread like wildfire to other employees… and to your customers.
Hey there leader, boss, executive: You are responsible for creating an environment that is conducive to productivity and service. You set the temperature – you set the tone! It’s easy for anybody to be a thermometer – to just take the temperature of the room. But it’s a lot harder to be a thermostat – to actually adjust the temperature of the room. You must model the right attitude and approach to the current business climate.
Take the opposite approach to combat germs. Use your powerful influence to spread a virus of positivity. Use the term coined by my friend and colleague, Rosanne in Pennsylvania, to describe a positive attitude: “Positude.” Why not have a positude? You have a responsibility to have a consistent demeanor. Your positude will also catch on like a virus.
Use this time to think about what kind of virus you’re spreading. Will your team members want to get a vaccine to ward off your germs, or will they come to you for a booster shot that will make them more productive and valuable?
How are you affecting others? What will you:
- Start doing
- Stop doing, or
- Continue doing
to fix your attitude and subsequently improve the attitude of your team? Comment with your action plan here so we can all learn and grow!
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Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication. In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems.
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