Attitude & The story of Three Bricklayers

Our attitude affects everything. It affects when we get up each morning, our work ethic, our dedication, our energy levels, our smile, our handshake, and our results. It is easy to say have a good attitude, but how do you improve your attitude both for yourself and the people you lead.

The first step to improving your attitude is to become more grateful for what you already have. See my blog post. THE HABIT: Week-1 (Gratitude).

The next step is to find meaning in what you do. The more meaning you see in your work, the better your attitude will be. The story of Three Bricklayers building a church demonstrates the importance of finding meaning in what you do. All three men were doing the same work, but when they were asked what they were doing, the first bricklayer replied, “I’m laying bricks.” The second bricklayer said, “I am feeding my family.” The third bricklayer said, “I’m building the house of God.” Which one do you think took the most pride in his work?

Too many managers only think of monetary rewards to motivate people when they could motivate their employees by teaching them to find meaning in what they do. When people see how their work is making a difference to the company or their community, it will motivate them to take more pride in what they do. Unless you are financially independent, you work to earn a salary, but I hope that isn’t the only reason you do what you do.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was on the verge of bankruptcy. He held a staff meeting and explained the role passion would play in revitalizing the brand.

“Apple is not about making boxes for people to get their jobs done, although we do that well. Apple is about something more. Its core value is that we believe that people with passion can change the world for the better. – Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs prized passion over all other personality traits. It was the characteristic he valued most in employees.[i] He cultivated it. He ensured everyone understood they weren’t creating products; they were changing the world. Who wouldn’t want to shape the world?

He believed that smart, passionate employees don’t need to be managed. Their passion, intelligence, and drive will guide their actions; they only needed to understand the company’s vision.

If we want to improve the attitude of those that we lead, we must lead with passion and ensure our team understands how our work adds value. It is simple to do, but how many managers do it. Perhaps they assume everyone understands how their work plays into the company’s mission. In my experience assumption is the mother of misunderstanding. If you want your people to be inspired, you must communicate your vision with passion.

Poor attitude, poor results. Great Attitude, great results. Improve your attitude, improve your life. Change your habits, change your life! 

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[i] Betsy Mikel, 1 Personality Trait Steve Jobs Always Looked for When Hiring for Apple, inc.com

Steve Jobs prized passion over all other personality traits. It was the characteristic he valued most in employees. He cultivated it. He ensured everyone understood they weren’t creating products, they were changing the world. Who wouldn’t want to shape the world? Steve Jobs prized passion over all other personality traits. It was the characteristic he valued most in employees. He cultivated it. He ensured everyone understood they weren’t creating products, they were changing the world. Who wouldn’t want to shape the world?

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