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Submitted by EJNIV on


I've noticed that recent podcasts (e.g., "Managing Massive Workload Increase") as well has others (e.g., "Assumptive Goal Setting") are paying more attention to attitude, outlook, etc. (or it at least it seems that way to me).

I love it!  I transitioned from the independent practice of clinical psychology to corporate American 8 years ago and currently deliver coach training to our leadership.  I've been including sections on "attitude and leadership" (think the line from Remember the Titans, "Attitude reflects leadership, captain!") and including how managers/leaders can use powerful coaching questions to help directs recognize (and change) attitudes that derail.  Anecdotal data from course participants suggest they are using coaching successfully in this arena, and they're doing so without coming across like junior psychologists/therapists.

Granted, I'm fortunate that I had 26 years of experience helping people see the role of beliefs, philosophies, notions, self-talk, attitude, etc. and feelings, actions, and behavior, and in my work with our leaders/managers I do my best to remove any hints of "psychobabble."  But, I'm curious, are others addressing attitude directly?  If so, how?  What best practices have you found to coach around attitude (if you are)?

BTW, new to Premium content and LOVE it!  Also, I have two handouts I use in some of my coaching workshops/courses, and wondering if it's OK to attach these.  My first post so just curious.




mercuryblue's picture
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I listened to the last two "managing massive workload increase" casts last night.

Wow oh wow.

Listening to these was like a huge, huge AH-HAH!!! moment. One of those rare moments where things just drop into place. So you'll have to excuse some self-indulgent rambling...

For me, it wasn't one of those "this is what I need to change" moments, but rather a very exciting "Oh, THAT'S what I've been doing right, and I didn't even know it, that's what it was all this time!" moment. That's why the senior execs in the company where I did the graduate program singled me out and I got promoted while my fellow grads didn't. That's what my current boss likes about working with me. I love, just absolutely thrive on, doing the impossible, and the bigger the challenge the more energised. And I've never whinged about resources or thought a job was beneath me (I remember fellow grads complaining about their Bachelor of Photocopying degrees - I used to think "Well the photocopying doesn't care who does it").  Sometimes I've actually wondered if I am a bit stupid, or if there is something that I am missing, as time and time again over the years, going WAAAY back, I have very happily taken on tasks that have had others running a mile in the opposite direction - I'm really energised by the challenge. These projects - some small, some extremely big (on a national-headlines kind of level) - have always succeeded. Funny that. The first time this happened in a big-scale way was back in 1993, when the people who had refused to help me or even SPEAK to me about a particular project that they thought was doomed (and I suspect thought I was rather naive!) suddenly crawled out of the woodwork months later looking to share the glory (which I could only view with a wry grin!).

So I loved this cast, because it reminded me of a string of successes and the sense of energy that came with working towards those "they all said it couldn't be done" goals.

There is one comment I would add on the question of choosing what you are willing to get in trouble for not doing. I have had this situation - but as well as deciding to let something drop, I have told my boss in our 1-on-1 on what basis I was prioritising the work, and that based on that I was focusing on certain things and would not be doing others.  He supported me 1000%. Covering it off does two things - firstly, it preemptively saves everyone from the pain of (possibly) someone complaining to him that I haven't done XYZ (why "get in trouble" if I don't have to?), and secondly, it demonstrates to him that I am aligning my role and priorities to the business priorities.

Mark's picture
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If there's a trend around attitude, I didn't intend it.  Just lucky, I guess...though it surely won't continue, because attitude isn't teachable or actionable the way behavior is.

I used to talk about attitude all the time...but have learned that behavior is easier.  I still love the's just not as translate-able.

Glad you're liking it though!


mauzenne's picture
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Feel free to post your documents if you'd like to share.


EJNIV's picture
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Thanks.  I am attaching an article on "Attitude and Leadership," some I use in some of coaching courses.  Would love to hear what people think.

And, I would argue (as a cognitive-behavioral psychologist [mostly behaviorist] turned internal "leadership coach") that attitude is teachable, albeit not as easy as teaching delegation behaviors, assumptive goal setting behaviors, etc.  And, I agree it's harder to measure other than looking at the behaviors that have changed secondary to the change in beliefs, attitudes, philosophies, and so on.



jocadl's picture


I must say I like the MT podcasts specifically because they are so behavioural-focused and thus directly actionable. As much as I love discussing attitudes and values, I appreciate those discussions more on the philosophical level, and after almost 15 years in the corporate world they have kinda worn me out. In Germany, we seem to LOVE deep intellectual/philosophical discussions. But when discussing attitudes, beliefs or values, some people tend to be on immediate defense and others just go on and on and on about what they belive is right; in the end, nothing and no one chances, and all in all, I just feel I've invested too much time in forums or "focus group" on these subjects. And I'm only in my mid-30s, it really scares me that I sound so cynical here.

On the other hand though: Behaviors can be observed, described, articulated, then changed. Talking about behaviors removes a lot of the stress that seems to emerge from differing interpretations or personal opinions. Talking about behaviors seems much less "provocative" and is thus much more powerful as a vehicle for management, leadership, or organizational change.

Bottom line: When dealing with colleagues at work, I try to strongly limit my scope to the behavior that I can observe, and try to influence just that. (Just my 2cts here.)

Best regards

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 In business analysis, inparticular durign the early phases of projects,  we spend a lot of time looking at weltanshauung (at least as covered in the ISEB certification Diploma).  Very, very roughly translated (and with due apologies to native German speakers who know will know that this is a very, very, very rough translation; Enschuldigung sie bitte. Ich bin auslander, mien Deutsch is nicht so gut.) it means 'World View'.  Part of that is attitude as a shorthand for and combination of behaviours, risk appetite, perception filters, propensity to verfremdungseffekt, expectations, hopes, fears, aspirations &c.  In my experience it tends to be used more when citing comparisons of differences such as "Bob generally has a less cautious attitude than Steve but here he seems to have flipped to over caution" or "Eric is worried about the impact of the budget changes to his work area which may be why he has an unhelpful attitude to project X".  As a shorthand, where a common lexicon and experience is present, 'attitude' can be useful.  It's like words like "Grouchy" or "Happy".  If I say my manager was happy this monring I haven't decribed any behaviours but if asked to decribe what behaviours that meant most people would give very similar descriptions.  Similarly if I described someone as having a great attitude to their work the descriptions of the behaviours would also have many common factors.

So, in my opinon at least, attitudes not actionable but a good shorthand.




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