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Want a Competitive Advantage in Business? Start With Attitude

Categories: Culture of Accountability

I've blogged about the topic of accountability before.

This time around, I want to delve deeper into how one's attitude relates to being personally accountable.

A young friend of mine was excited to get a great new job. Discussing her problems with the job she was about to quit, she said, “Of course I wanted to help them, but for what they were paying me, they didn’t deserve anything more.”

Hmmm ... I suspect this is a fairly common attitude.

And guess what? At the first sign of trouble with the new job — whether it has to do with salary or not — this same type of attitude will likely rear its ugly head, ruining her experience of the job and causing her to either start slacking, start looking for another one, or both.

Our young friend’s attitude begs two questions:

1. How much effort and can-do attitude should you apply to your job?

2. Is how much you give decided internally, or is it based on external circumstances? In other words, do you always give everything you’ve got, unconditionally? Or do you parcel out your effort, your enthusiasm, and your initiative depending on any or all of the following:

  • how well you feel you’re being treated
  • how happy you are with the way your department is run
  • how well you get along with your boss
  • whether or not you received that annual raise or promotion
  • whether or not anyone is paying attention (and you can get away with breaking the rules)?

If you are internally motivated, you give your all to any job, regardless of circumstances.

Why? Because that’s the kind of person you want to be. Doing your best, especially during difficult circumstances, gives you pride and self-respect, and allows you to sleep at night.

The attitude of always doing your best will find solutions and opportunities that the opposite attitude will never allow you to see.

This doesn’t mean that you allow yourself to be taken advantage of, and it doesn’t mean you might not look for a better position. It’s certainly natural to be upset if you don’t like the way you’re treated, or are passed by for promotion year after year.

In these circumstances, taking a closer look at your own behavior and your own attitude is what’s known as being accountable. Do you believe in personal accountability, or personal mediocrity?

Regardless of circumstances, you’ll always feel better about yourself, learn more, and grow more if you do the best job possible. People will notice.

Grumbling, slacking off, and feeling justified in not giving your all, create a downward spiral that’s hard to recover from. (Yup, that’s what we experts call, “cutting off your nose to spite your face.”) Again, people will notice.

Those who are internally focused do their best for themselves — period. They are accountable not just to their superiors, but first and foremost to themselves, and their own standards.

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