Welcome to the second installment of “Investing in Staff Skills” a new regular feature in the CAR e-zine. The author, Ian Hope, is the Executive Director of the Alberta Automotive Recyclers and Dismantlers Association and in addition maintains a professional practice training others on highly valued people skills. He provides articles on topics that will help collision repair shops and auto recycling yards, among other businesses, to raise individual and team performance. To enquire about Ian speaking or training at your event, send an e mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or go to his website at ianhope.com.
By Ian Hope
I went into a retail store on the weekend and in my usual way, offered an upbeat greeting to the young fellow at the cash register. “How are you today?” I cheerfully asked. His answer was anything but what I might have expected though… “I feel stuck” he gloomily responded, saying this with the plainest of faces, eyes cast down towards the floor. Pausing, I responded to him that I hoped he would soon find himself unstuck, while explaining by that I didn’t mean him getting fired, of course.
I see way too much of this lately and I am particularly concerned when I see it with young people who have got so much life ahead of them, so much to look forward, and so much that they can hope and work to achieve in their lives. To me, a lot of this boils down to attitude, and I wish that they could simply see how they have formed or adopted an attitude that really does serve to simply weigh them down, stopping them from all that could be good in their lives: better jobs, better educations, better physical conditioning and better relationships. You name it!
I ran into a short piece years ago, and can no longer remember who even wrote it or where I found it. But I have always thought the wisdom within what was written to be personal gold for anyone, and it was important enough that I have had it on fridge magnets for at least the past two years.
The article explained that attitude was more important than any appearance, any talent or skill; also that it would make or break a company, a church, a home, a marriage, friendship or any relationship for that matter. It concluded by saying that “nothing can stop the person with the right mental attitude from achieving his or her goal, and in the same way nothing could help the one with the wrong mental attitude.”
What is your attitude about what you do at work? How do you feel about your job and what you are achieving in life by doing it? How you feel and see yourself in your work is terribly important in so many ways. It’s important in terms of giving you a sense of satisfaction. Your positive attitude also allows you true enjoyment. Yes, even work is something that is best when enjoyed and when you can see how your efforts contribute to a better world. Sometimes people just don’t see how what they do makes a difference.
Let me illustrate with an example. There was a clever hospital administrator who had to meet with the janitorial staff for their quarterly meeting and wanted to raise their motivation and thinking about what they do. The administrator went through the usual information about the cleaning schedule, how well it was being handled and how the hospital simply sparkled. But then she thanked them for the marked contribution their work was making towards the survival of the hospital’s patients. She shared her vision about the hospital’s role in the community, its health goals and then tied their results in with the very low incidence in the hospital of staph and other communicable infections. The cleaning staff went away from the meeting with a whole new sense of importance and pride in what they do, not to mention increased morale and commitment to their employer.
All jobs are important, folks. If it wasn’t so, these jobs wouldn’t exist. In every job, the ways that your job counts are as numerous as the customers you serve. I encourage every employee to find that meaning in your job and also every team leader to help in that process.
So there you have it … your attitude can propel you towards success, and can give you enjoyment and satisfaction. But your attitude is what you choose it to be.
Be good to yourself and make the right choice. Happy thoughts to you!