Now that I’m transitioning into the new role as Executive Director of a non-profit, I’ve been thinking a lot about business negotiations, networking and management. I started working (illegally – shhhh – they thought I was 14) at the age of 12 at McDonald’s and have worked nonstop in retail, law, higher ed and education. From my days of “Welcome to McDonald’s, may I take your order?” to writing lesson plans and exams, I’ve learned a lot about being a professional.
If you find yourself stagnant or craving for a change in your work life, you want to follow this series closely to make sure you are putting your best professional face forward. I invite you to share your advice and your experience too!
So we’ll start with “A” for Attitude
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.
– Maya Angelou
When it comes to your work environment, EVERYONE has an effect on the “culture” or the “vibe” – including you. If you are unhappy with the way a process is run – perhaps things are disorganized or inefficient, it is your responsibility to take the necessary steps to change it. Attitude is particulary important when you are dealing with external parties. YOU may be the first person to introduce a stranger to your brand, and you want to leave them with a “good taste” or a good impression.
Attitudes are like an air-borne illness. It is easy to spread a bad one, and just as easy to spread a good one. It is difficult for someone to be mean or snarky with a person who is smiling and speaking with a calm tone. There is also a certain energy that people need from leadership so if you find yourself in management, you need to inspire your coworkers. At my job we receive a weekly bulletin and at the top of that bulletin is a quote – about teaching or learning, there may be a funny cartoon included or if it’s a holiday, there may be a piece of clip-art. While the calendar is very much appropriate all of those extra details go into making the work experience better.
When I run into my old bosses, it is always a pleasant experience because they remember my positive attitude and apparently that is something that isn’t so common, because it is what helped me to stand out. Whatever you have to do to “get your mind right” before you start work, do it! When I wake up and I’m not in the best mood, I listen to gospel music. Particularly the following songs:
“Walking” by Mary Mary
“Total Praise” by Richard Smallwood
“No Weapon” by Fred Hammond
“Order my Steps” by GMWA Women of Worship
“The Battle is the Lord’s” by Yolanda Adams
“Open My Heart” by Yolanda Adams
“God’s Grace” by Trin-I-Tee 5:7
I turn the volume all the way up and it doesn’t matter what challenges I’m faced with, the above songs inspire me and help me to have a better attitude. If you find yourself being skipped for promotions or constantly on the other end of a complaint, you should examine your attitude!