Thursday, May 30, 2013

Attitude is Catching - What Are You Spreading?

As I dropped my toddler off at daycare today one classmate was already crying, another was literally on the verge, and two more (including mine) started before I left.  I left with a guilty relief thinking "I am so glad I don't have their job today" and "those gift cards do not even cut it for what they put up with."  You've seen it, one child is crying because he fell and the others cry not necessarily because they are hurt but seemingly out of a type of empathy.

It goes the other way, too!  Watch any group of people (male or female) of any age get started laughing and once it gets going it is almost impossible to stop.  There isn't one leader, it is just a ripple of feeling that touches everyone in it's path.

It may be a funny story when it happens in a pre-school room, but it happens in the office, too.  Whether you are the CEO or a front-line contributor, your attitude directly impacts every person with whom you come into contact.  And each person's attitude is a mix-mash of everyone else they have come in contact with that morning from the bus driver that waited for them and the barista that remembers their order or the driver that cut them off on the freeway and the taxi that splashed mud all over their outfit before they even managed to walk in the door.

We all have good days and bad days and we all have reactions we are proud of and ones we wish we could take back.  As the sun sets and you think about the events of the day, think about a few things as well.

When you walk in the door do people tense up or relax?  (Hint, they probably do a more exaggerated version when they see your e-mail pop up on their screen so it is worth noting the subtle hints.)

What habit can you form to give yourself processing time before you react to bad news or a rude e-mail?  (Hint, If you can, take a walk around people with the attitude you want to "catch.")

Most importantly, what attitude do you want to spread tomorrow? (And every day after that?)

How will you accomplish your goal?  (Yes, I am asking you to experiment on your co-workers.  Come on, it's Friday!!!!)

Don't forget to share your "experiments" and favorite observations in the comments section below!

P.S. Don't share this post with your co-workers before your experiment or it will completely invalidate the scientific results.