Attitude - the Deal-Breaker in Leadership

If you are following my emails, that is probably because you want to grow in some way.

In these notes I share different leadership insights I have picked up in study and in experience. No matter if you read these perspectives to achieve a higher level of professional results, a new title in your organization, or a greater legacy of impact, you have to do some growing – and that is my goal in sharing these insights.

So today, in pursuit of growth, I want to walk you through an exercise.

Take a piece of paper and write down the name of someone you really admire – it could be your favorite artist, inventor, business mogul, or change-maker, or a mentor… anyone you aspire to be like.

Below their name, write down five reasons why you respect them. What about them endears you? Are they inspiring? Accomplished? Innovative? Kind? Once you have those down, look at those five things and assess what they have in common.

I’m willing to bet they all have to do with the person’s attitude.

Pastor and author Charles Swindoll said, “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” And in my years leading and consulting for other leaders, I have seen Mr. Swindoll proven right over and over again.

We do not have complete control over our circumstances. The ambitious among us do not like to admit it, but some things we truly cannot control We might make decisions that can impact or improve the situation we’re in, but from moment to moment, we cannot change the weather or the state of the economy or the amount of money in our bank account.

But we can always choose our response to these things which we cannot change. And that response, that all-important response, is borne from our attitude.

Think about it!

Think about that person whose name you wrote down.

More than likely, what you admire about them has nothing to do with their resources, their image, their status, their notoriety… and everything to do with their outlook.

Your favorite artist had to believe that they had something worthwhile enough to say and something important enough to create.

Your favorite inventor had to believe their invention was possible in order to keep searching for a way to materialize it.

Your favorite business mogul had to step out in hope and take the risk that ignited their enterprise.

Your favorite change-maker had to stay impassioned enough to push past resistance.

Your mentor saw potential in you and invested in it.

Nothing grand – including and especially growth! – can be accomplished without an attitude of possibility and positivity! It is like the aim of your bow… it determines where your arrow flies.

And as a leader, your attitude is of even greater importance.

You set the tone for those who follow you. They take their cues from you. Your words become their words; your actions become their actions; your reactions become their reactions. And all of these, of course, spring forth from your attitude.

A whining leader builds a whining team.

A winning leader builds a winning team.

What does your attitude say about you to your team? What does it say about the organization? What does it say about what is important? What is possible? And what do you want it to say?

You choose!

Keep an eye out for next week’s email, where I’ll be covering another crucial pillar of leadership: character.

Until then,


P.S. I’ll be discussing how to keep a growth-oriented attitude on the next episode of Leading on Mondays, in case you’re free 25 July at 12 PM CET :)

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