As my kids get older and move along on their respective career journeys, it makes me wonder about the factors that may lead to their success or challenges. Why was I able to do really well in some of the roles that I had versus other teammates?. We were all smart enough, and capable enough, but what was it that allowed a few to flourish and others to simply get along? 

I remember when I first entered into the recruiting business with a company called CNC Global (26 years ago). I made the ‘pilgrimage’ to the desk of the company’s top biller and asked him the secrets of his success. I can’t recall his advice to me, but I do remember thinking that regardless of the specifcs, I simply had to chart my own course which entailed trying to bring value in all my interactions with my clients and candidates.

So I became a ‘student’ of the industry. I read books on ‘human capital’, leadership, recruiting, sales, technology, start-up’s, company culture, team building etc. I started a newsletter that now goes out to 2,500 readers monthly. I inititated a series of surveys around compensation, benefits, stock options. Anyways, you get my drift.

But what really ended up being my tipping point was my attitude. That is the criticality of caring to do right by my clients and by the candidates that I present. They knew that I had their backs and would go out of my way to ensure the right fit and a great match for both parties to grow. It wasn’t a specific skill that I had (although hard work was clearly part of the mix). It was my attitude.

So what’s your attitude like in your team?
– Do you help others succeed?
– How do you treat or talk about your competitors?
– When you fail, do you go into blaming mode or do you learn and move on?
– What’s it like to work for you or with you?
– Are you helpful and generous with others only when your boss is looking? 

If your answers point you in the direction of being a “drain” rather than a “radiator,” then try one of these ideas. See what happens! 

1. Ask for feedback. Ask a trusted circle of advisors (customers, colleagues, bosses, mentors, coaches) to be honest with you about your attitude. Do you need to adjust it and exactly how? Ask them for specific examples of how your approach works, and take notes. 

2.Create a ‘not-to-do’ list. Performance reviews are based on what we’ve done, what numbers we’ve delivered, what increases we have posted against last year’s results. Even the personal goals on a review are couched in terms of actions we’ve initiated. Nowhere can we note behaviours we have stopped. We get credit for being punctual, not for stopping our lateness. Get out your notepad and write down behaviors and attitudes you want to stop. 

3.Uncover your purpose, and frequently reconnect with it. Do you have a purpose written down that sums up how you want to act with others? Check out ‘Leading With Noble Purpose’ by Lisa Earle McLeod. It will help you craft that vision.

In all the experience that I have had over my years of recruiting, I’ve never seen anyone let go because they have a great attitude. You can always find a place for ‘that’ person.

Think about that as you face your world.