This article will cover some critical parts of becoming and growing as a leader. The article’s goal is to lay a framework that will help you create a positive attitude that will give you an edge. The first essential item is completing a clear personal mission for yourself! The second crucial thing is that someone on a journey to becoming a great leader needs to check is their attitude and perspective. Covey writes extensively in the seven habits about paradigm shifts, which are shifts in perspective and attitude. Throughout life, we view most things through the lens of our experiences and where we are in life at that point. For example, Covey tells the story of sitting in a subway car and a father and two children getting on the subway car. The children are running around and obnoxious while the father sits and stares off. Eventually, Covey asked the father if he couldn’t do something about his children to gain control of them. The father looks at Covey and says, well, the thing is, we are on the way home from the hospital where their mother just died. They don’t know what to do the truth is I don’t know what to do either. So, as you can imagine, the new understanding changed coveys perspective. Can you think of times you have had a significant perspective change that has made you see things differently? Think of ways you can check your perspective from time to time! Below we will show you a framework for using your mission to improve your attitude and keep your perspective in check!
We all have things of this nature that happen to us over time. Also, our perspective is directly related to our attitude. Therefore, we may have a better attitude than others, depending on our perspective. This difference in attitude is what will make or break your leadership! The key is to understand how to check our perspective and keep our eye on the mission and purpose! A project that started with a lousy attitude will have a tough time getting off the ground, and if we are participating in a project that we have an awful perspective on, we need to decide if we are in the right place!
The greatest day in your life and mine is when we take total responsibility for our attitudes. That’s the day we truly grow up.John C Maxwell
Age and experience don’t matter as much as attitude in the result. Why do we spend so much time getting new gadgets and software to make us successful if this is true? The truth is that if we can’t get it right in paper form or our daily practice, no software in the world will make you get it right. Your success comes from within yourself! It will come from self-discipline to work the framework we will layout for you. with this said, I want to talk about the beginnings of training yourself for leadership and the tie between having a mission and your attitude.
You need to have an honest inventory of what you know and don’t know about yourself and the job at hand. This understanding alone can change your perspective and help you deal with other people and the different aspects of the given project. But, more importantly, this inventory is necessary for you to know how to craft your mission statement.
This tie between mission, attitude and successfulness is illustrated best by the example of a group of similar people with the same positions, promises, and opportunities in life. Yet, all of them have different levels of success! Why is this? the answer lies in their attitude and knowledge of the mission! You must have a good attitude and knowledge of the mission to succeed. You will be limited if you only have one or the other!
Companies in the same industry and similar areas and times can also illustrate the tie between mission, attitude, and success. I know of two manufacturing companies that started in similar areas about the same period. Both companies grew at about the same pace for the first generation of leadership. During the second generation, both companies excelled and multiplied, and diversified. When the third generation came along, one company propelled forward and continued diversifying. The second company decided to sell off assets and shrink the footprint and diverse holdings. The second company is still in business but has zero growth and struggles to keep employees. The culture of that business is very much like a dictatorship, and there is a lot of micromanagement. The first company is now at least 20 times the second size and enjoys a culture of growth and freedom, and people flock to work there. Again what is the difference? It is the attitude and mission of the company and leadership!
Create a Mission
So how do we get to an excellent mission to drive us forward and a great attitude? We will first look at why you need to be sure that you always have a mission. You should have a mission for your business, personal life as well as for your family. You want to involve everyone affected by creating the plan in each case!
Your attitude will naturally improve if you have a mission or purpose. Think about the below purpose statements.
- Purpose will motivate you daily — Think about the past few weeks; have you had any successful days? Have you had any days that weren’t as successful? What is the difference? When you dig into the events of the day, you will often find that you didn’t have a purpose on the day that didn’t go so well.
- Purpose will keep your priorities straight-A good mission will help you look at all of your tasks daily, weekly, and monthly and prioritize. Once you have your mission, it allows you to ask the question does this item help me advance my mission?
- Purpose will help you develop your potential — Your mission will also help you hone your skills and experiences to grow your potential. It can also help you increase your circle of influence by finding people who have skills and knowledge that help you advance your mission!
- Purpose will give you the power to live in the present — Having a good purpose will also help you know what you have to do and the direction you are going and enjoy the events in your life as they happen.
- purpose will help you evaluate your progress — Now that you have a good mission and purpose, it also gives you something to measure your progress and success against!
There are many resources on creating your mission, which can also be used for business missions and family mission statements. One of the ways that I like is to imagine your obituary and what you would like people will say about you. Then, use those statements to create the elements of your mission statement. For example, if you want your wife to say that you were a loving and caring man of God and used those virtues to guide your decisions in life. Then, you would add a “to” at the beginning of the statement and include it into your mission, like To use God’s word while being loving and caring while making decisions for my family!
To be clear here, you must create a personal mission for yourself! The corporation you work for having a mission is not enough to keep you motivated even if you helped craft this mission! You need to have your personal mission to keep your priorities straight. Even if you are starting with a company as a janitor, you should have a mission to guide your decisions through life. Why do people fall victim to drug use or crime? Although many reasons can contribute, I would argue that most of it comes back to not having a mission and purpose! Without these two essential tools, you have nothing to gauge your decisions against and have no moral compass. Think of the example that a commercial airliner is off course 90% of the time! Why then do we get where we intend? Because the pilot understands his mission for the flight! The pilot makes 100’s of corrections during the flight to get to the intended destination. Imagine for a moment, if the pilot did not understand the mission and had a bad attitude, the chances of getting where you want on time diminish greatly!
Mission Created, Now Use it!
To stay motivated, leaders must always be working towards something meaningful. It is common in the middle of any project for people to start growing tired of working on it. Any time people start to grow tired is the time to reinforce the big picture. If you re-enforce the vision and mission of what they are doing, it will re-motivate them! The same applies to you individually. Creating the mission is the first step, but you will need to be sure you revisit the mission to keep yourself on track and reinvigorate yourself! This same pattern applies to individual projects as well. You want to be certain projects you take on to fit your mission, but the goal must be evident once you take on a project. You must also continually revisit the project goal to stay motivated and communicate that project goal to the team!
Lastly, on creating a mission, the question always comes up as to whether you should update your mission from time to time? The answer is that it should be a living document and as your life situations change, you should update your mission statement. Some general examples of reasons to change your statement would be:
- Career move
- death of a family member
Connecting Mission and Attitude
Having a mission doesn’t magically make your attitude better, though! you still have to work on it. However, the mission will help to keep you motivated as you move forward.
Now let’s talk about why we want to improve our attitude. Below you will find several statements about the attitude that will help you understand why attitude is essential and how to use these statements to keep your attitude and perspective in check.
- Attitude determines our approach to life
- Attitude determines our relationships with people
- Attitude is often the only difference between success and failure
- Attitude at the beginning of a task will affect its outcome more than anything else
- attitude can turn problems into blessings
- Attitude can give us an uncommonly positive perspective
- Attitude is not automatically good all the time.
As you can see, attitude is the manager of everything we do each day! Think of a day that you started with a bad attitude? How did the rest of the day go? At what point did the day change? Was it from a shift in attitude?
There are a few key areas that we need to be keeping in check constantly. If you find yourself having some of the following issues, it is time for an attitude adjustment. The best way to combat this is to understand each of them and our tendencies and use your mission statement to adjust your attitude. I know as a child I was threatened with attitude adjustments several times, but in reality, you can’t get that from anyone but yourself.
- Self-Absorption –We grumble and complain about all the inequities, focusing on the individual task at hand and not the big picture. When we fall into this trap, we need to remind ourselves of the big vision and mission. The most common time to fall into this trap is when we are about halfway through a project, and it seems like we are getting nowhere fast. Self-absorption can sometimes happen after the excitement of a new job or position has worn off as well! Just be sure that you have a mission and have it close by to refer!
- Comparison — We have all been guilty of this at some point or another! Once we become preoccupied with others and not our mission or even the job at hand, we set ourselves up for failure.
- Presumption — We assume too much without seeking out the facts or understanding others. One of the best examples of this is text messages or emails! Have you ever recieved a text and started to get angry over the content, because you are viewing it as negative? Many times we find out later that we were presuming some feelings into the the message that were not intended!
- Distortion — When we judge others as unworthy, we start losing our mission’s point. We must realize that we are on this earth and in our job for a reason. At the simplest, that reason is to complete something. We are not here to judge others. There is also a significant difference between judging someone as unworthy and constructive criticism!
Once you get all of these items in working order, you will notice several things.
- Your attitude will start to change for the better each day and continue to improve every day. This doesn’t mean that you won’t have a bad day, but when you do, go back and re-affirm with yourself what the mission is and check yourself for the above traps!
- You will start to operate differently when you are leading others. You will begin to work as though you are obligated to deliver the mission. Let’s say that your mission is to provide some expertise. If that is so, you will start to feel obligated to get that knowledge to as many people as possible!
- You will start to work eagerly to get to the next step and not just do it because it is part of your job. Your job will become part of who you are as a leader. A great example of this is a school teacher. Does a school teacher stop caring about their students at 2:10 Pm each day?? I have a friend who is a school teacher in a small town. One year, we were returning from running a 5K race on New Year’s Eve, and we stopped at a convenience store to get something to drink; he ran into one of his students. He took the time to talk and engage with this student, and after we left, he informed me that he was worried about this student because he had just a few days before the break had some discipline problems with the student. He was eager to live his mission of making a difference in students’ lives even while on vacation and after hours.
- You will not be ashamed of what you are doing or any pitfalls you have along the way because many of those falls and bumps will help you in one way or another to get the goal!
In conclusion, you better understand why the first step to becoming a leader is a mission vital to leading yourself and others. The second step is using the mission to motivate yourself and others while simultaneously improving your attitude. The bottom line is that no one wants to be led by a leader with a bad attitude and no direction. Imagine starting a new job with no training, and all of your coworkers have a negative attitude! You don’t want to be in that position.
Why are you waiting? Get to work on that mission statement and start improving your attitude today!