For years I believed that building a successful career was about the quality of work I produced and the speed at which I delivered it.   It was only when I gained experience, and made a lot of mistakes, that I recognised the importance of “attitude”.   In my opinion, it’s a really odd word to use in this instance.  It took me a while to figure out what this meant.  So here are my thoughts to speed up this process for those of you still working it out.

When people say “it’s all about attitude”, they don’t mean how you think or respond internally.  What they mean is how you respond externally.  Your behaviours.  So you may not like the way something is done, but HOW you share your thoughts is important.  Do you simply accept it, but become more frustrated and start moaning about the issue?  How about discussing alternatives with those involved?  Maybe you should complain to the person in charge?  These are all options and there are many more.  Choosing the one that allows you to share your thoughts in a positive way is usually the best.  This realisation was the turning point for me.  I started to notice that the behaviours I demonstrated and the way I interacted with others had a significant impact on achieving my goals.  People like working with positive people.  It really is that simple.

As I reflect back on the early career programmes I managed, it’s the school leavers and graduates who responded thoughtfully and with openness to changing environments and opportunities that I remember the most.  They seemed to make my job easier.  In fact, I was more confident in being open and honest with them as I didn’t have to worry about the reaction I was going to receive.  This, in turn, made it easier to build relationships with them.

In my experience, great relationships can grow a career far more quickly than sheer hard work.  So, maybe it’s not about attitude itself, but more about the responses we demonstrate.