What does attitude have to do with career progression?

What does attitude have to do with career progression?

Work is work right? You’ve got to go to work to earn a pay cheque and employers shouldn’t expect anything more from you? Show up, do your job and go home, that’s all there is to it. Now all of that may be true, and you may feel that you go to work because you have bills to pay, and if you won the lotto you probably wouldn’t. But work shouldn’t be a slog.

Studies estimate that most adults spend at least 90 000 hours at work in their lifetime. That’s roughly a third of your life. So enjoying your work, rather than thinking of it as a something you grudgingly have to do, could make a huge difference to how you feel about life in general and how you progress in your career.

Why attitude is important

Regardless of what type of job is being advertised, hiring managers generally look for the same qualities in people. These are qualities that indicate the person will add value to the business and they have a lot to do with a person’s attitude. So what are these qualities?

  • A ‘can-do’ attitude. In other words, someone who is willing to do more than the bare minimum. If asked to try a new method of doing things or to take on a new task, they’re willing to do it. The workplace is always evolving and things are changing and companies have to adapt accordingly. They want to employ people that are willing to adapt alongside them and be willing to learn new things or do things differently.
  • Enthusiasm. Tied in with the can-do attitude is enthusiasm and a positive approach to work. It can make a huge difference to a working environment to be surrounded by people who want to be there and like what they do, as opposed to people who wear a sour attitude at work.
  • Honesty. This may seem logical, but for some people the lines can be blurred. If you’re taking a sick day just because you’ve had a late night and don’t feel like getting out of bed, that’s being dishonest. If you’re having long social conversations on the phone while at work, that’s also not ok. Neither is browsing Facebook for hours on end at the office. It’s using company resources and wasting company time on personal leisure.
  • People skills. A business environment is a collection of many different personalities. Some easy to get along with, and some not. If you can work well with people and communicate well with others despite their quirks, you become more valuable to the business. On the other hand if you’re one of the difficult personalities, it makes life harder for everyone around you.

These are really small things that can make a big difference in the workplace. Having a good attitude will make you more likeable in the workplace, and increases your chances of promotion. Bosses are more likely to promote people who have qualities that add value to business. Could that person be you? Do a quick check of your attitude and see if there are small things you can change that could make a big difference to your work life and career.

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