Here is an excerpt from Lee’s book, Leadership Matters. It contains 31 daily insights to inspire extraordinary results.

day 3: Attitude

Inspiring leadership is defined by an inspiring attitude. Inspiring words and acts are preceded by an inspiring attitude. Like it or not, our thoughts and interpretations of people and circumstances directly influence our beliefs, and ultimately, our leadership actions.

Yes, bad things do happen and they sometimes “just show up.” Any leader would be hard pressed to remember a week when no curve balls were thrown at him or her. However, it is our interpretation that makes a situation negative. A surprise event or a challenging moment doesn’t have to drag us down. The way we choose to think about what happens determines the ultimate outcome. Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or cannot, you’re right.” In other words, your attitude reflects your past, describes your present and predicts your future.

Our experiences are much less important than our attitude toward them. Our interpretations of experiences either limit or enable our future success. Here’s an example: A mission-critical project you are leading has “promotion” written all over it, but it bombs – it’s over budget, past its deadline … the works. How you choose to interpret those facts is how you shape your future. Do you see yourself as a failure, a poor leader who is maxed out and on the way out? Or are you a great leader in the making who is learning some tough lessons that will help ensure success on the next project?

Think the best ALL the time. What’s the harm? If you choose to protect yourself from disappointment by always thinking the worst, you have also chosen disappointment as the filter through which you view all things and people … and that’s just what you will get. On the other hand, you can choose to think the best all the time. Sure, you might be disappointed occasionally but, most of the time, you will be programming your mental attitude to achieve your best. This creates a tremendously powerful chain reaction that looks like:

You think the best of your team

Team performs to meet you expectations

Customers’ expectations are met

Better business results

You think the best because you have seen the benefit of doing so.

We must manage our attitude as carefully as we manage our money. At any moment during daily leadership, we can fall victim to our own attitude. Self-doubt and fear are the enemies of inspired leadership. Instead, choose an attitude of victory and your team’s performance will follow.

Action Questions:

1. What does my attitude today say about the results I can expect tomorrow?

2. How does my attitude toward my own capabilities, my team and my goals affect my leadership?

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“There’s very little difference in people. But that little difference makes a big difference. The little difference is attitude. The BIG DIFFERENCE is whether it is positive or negative.” – W. Clement Stone

Copyright © 2012 by Lee J. Colan and The L Group, Inc.