Team Members Don’t Exceed the Attitude of the Team Leader

This week I spoke to a group of franchisees in Banff about how to permanently solve their chronic people problems.

Each franchisee defined the rules of behaviour that fly and don’t fly in their businesses.  These included things like:

Positive, reliable, team-focused, caring, cheerful, customer-centric and so on.

Then I asked each one to score themselves against these attitudes.  Because, here’s one of the inescapable laws of being a team leader:

People’s attitudes never exceed the attitude of the leader

If you are a ‘10’ in respect for others, your team members will be 9’s and 8’s.  If you are a 6 in positivity, your team members will be 5’s, 4’s and 3’s.    But if you’re a 6, don’t expect your team members to be 8’s.  Won’t happen.

Furthermore, 10’s won’t work (long term) for a 7.  Life’s too short.  Here’s the rule: 10’s hire 10’s, 7’s hire 6’s.  And 4’s.   Put another way, A’s hire A’s, B’s hire C’s.

This is true at home too btw.  If you want your kids to be positive, rate your own level of positivity.  Theirs is (highly) unlikely to exceed yours.  This is true of any attitude that you want them to display: perseverance, patience, kindness, self-control and so on.

There are many things you don’t choose in life: intelligence, looks, height, your parents, some aspects of your physical health; there are many more, but you get the idea.

But everyone.  Everyone. EVERYONE.  Chooses their attitude every day.  No one can steal that choice from you.  Not a bad boss, a difficult spouse, or a problem child.  Your attitude is your own, and you decide each morning what it’s going to be.  Maybe you don’t even recognize it as a choice, but make no mistake, it is one, and one of the most important choices of your day.

So, if you want to improve your team, improve your attitude.  When the leader gets better, everyone improves!

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