Why do we advertise for a “positive attitude” in job announcements? What do we require from people when “positive attitude” is listed in a series of desired qualities or attributes? If we’re expecting a routine countenance of joy and happiness, we’re getting it all wrong. Perhaps it could be that the behavior you’re experiencing is indicating the individual is operating out of their comfort zone or against their personal values and beliefs. People are dynamic and unique, with predictably different attitudes that can be learned, understood, and strategically employed in the workplace.
Sometimes, when we’re experiencing new people or situations, we can find ourselves characterizing our perceptions in a very broad or generalized manner. It happens for many reasons, but probably most notably because the behaviors are new and unfamiliar. We may not have the words yet to describe what we observe or prefer more accurately. As leaders and managers, we can do ourselves and others a disservice through our own misunderstandings. Another tendency to be aware of is labeling people we misunderstand as having an “attitude.” This can be the beginning of a downward spiral when developing personal and professional relationships. Let’s rethink behavioral attitudes to get a better understanding of people as leaders, mentors, and coaches.
The word “attitude” itself has quite an unbiased meaning and definition: “A settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.” Think of all the times in your life you’ve heard the phrase, “she’s got an attitude,” or “his attitude is keeping him from improving.” In both scenarios, the person making the observation may be perceiving negative behaviors or actions, but there’s a missing perspective, that of the individual they are observing. There can also be generalizations of positive attitudes. What we should strive to achieve is a more specific understanding of the unique behavioral attitude of the individual, instead of grouping them into a generalized positive or negative category.
The Behavioral Attitudes Index is an excellent tool to learning hidden, internal motivations behind actions and decisions that help us get to know people on a more personal level. When we can understand ourselves and others better, we are more likely to identify when people are operating in their strength zones with confidence, meet a new challenge, and learn to navigate it.
Organizations can incorporate BAI to help guide new applicants and employees towards making career decisions that fit their personality style and desired workplace environment. It introduces six different areas of motivation:
This model, also called I-SPEAK, influences people’s thinking and actions. When identified and combined with other professional development and career planning tools, recruiters and hiring managers can more effectively match and offer positions to candidates that not only align with their personal values, but also with organizational values, based on specific knowledge of the individual versus a generalized characterization.
Set your employees, leaders, and organizations up for success by intentionally selecting a team of professionals with behavioral attitudes that support the organizational mission and values, and are motivated to act in alignment with team goals and objectives. Learn more by downloading the Behavioral Attitudes Index One-sheet.