– John Timpson, Chairman, Timpsons Shoes
Did you know that you are three times more likely to get or keep a job because of your attitude than skills alone?
Employers are looking for people with not just technical skills, but those with the attitude your co-workers, customers and vendors respect. So choosing the right attitude makes a huge difference to their business, and your chances of getting hired there.
Here are 10 value-adding attitudes, what they look like, how they help you and employers, and some questions to make you think about your own attitude:
What curious looks like: Exploring; questioning; connecting; sharing ideas; lifelong learning.
Key messages: Ask good questions; research things you don’t yet understand; put your ideas forward; never stop learning and don’t think you’ll ever know it all; actively seek opportunities, without the right opportunities you may never know what your potential is; find the things you love and the things you do well (and not-so-well).
Benefits: Helps you to explore your potential; shows employers you are genuinely interested.
Questions: What are you most curious about? When is your curiosity most aroused?
What appreciative looks like: Generous; giving to others and self; offering recognition, even when not required.
Key messages: Build other people up; do things for others without expecting reciprocation; appreciate yourself as well as others; be genuine.
Benefits: People will warm to you, so you build more relationships, more easily.
Questions: What do you like to be appreciated for? What does your best friend like to be appreciated for?
What hopeful looks like: Optimism; acceptance; opportunity; chance.
Key messages: Accepting that things don’t always go according to plan, and never giving up if it’s really important; knowing that there is place for you and your talents; knowing hope is a choice and within your control.
Benefits: More likely to see opportunities, support initiatives and show persistence.
Questions: What hopes do you have for your future working life? When are you at your most positive? What difference does it make to how you feel and what you do?
What flexible looks like: Adaptable; willing to listen; accepts input from others; can change course when prudent.
Key messages: About teamwork and ‘give and take’ in terms of responsibilities and roles; contributing over and above what is expected of you on occasions; multi-tasking is common; life is not a straight line, it’s OK to zig-zag and try new things out; change is inevitable.
Benefits: Opens up options and possibilities; helps you to create your own luck.
Questions: How do you react when asked to do something new or different? How willing are you to listen to the ideas of others? How often do you compromise?
What resilient looks like: Dealing with difficult situations well; being solution oriented; maintaining optimism; noticing the positive.
Key messages: There is always someone worse off than you (“I cried because I had no shoes, then I saw a child with no feet”); a willingness to slow down, take control of your life rather than letting events control you; change your story from ‘life is not fair’ to ‘what can I change?’
Benefits: You’ll generate more options; motivate others to success; develop more comfort with uncertainty and change.
Questions: What obstacles have you overcome? What event can you take control of in your life right now? What can you do better at work, and expect your team to do better?
What aware looks like: Self-awareness, listening; understanding; asking clarifying questions.
Key messages: Understand yourself first before understanding other people; knowing we don’t know who we can be until we know who we are and what we are capable of; understanding that listening is the secret to meeting the needs of others.
Benefits: Greater congruence between who you are and what you do; greater personal fulfillment and job satisfaction; healthier relationships; greatly improved customer satisfaction.
Questions: What can I do well? What am I naturally good at? What talents can I practice so they become strengths? What more do I need to find out about myself and others?
What open looks like: accepting of ideas, people and opportunities; honesty; vulnerability.
Key messages: Don’t settle for being closed minded and stubborn; consider the thoughts and creative nature of others; don’t be afraid to let people see the human side of you.
Benefits: Builds trust in your relationships with other people; widens your view of possibilities; creates options not previously available or considered.
Questions: What do other people not know about you that you would be prepared to share? What questions can you ask to find out more about other people? How honest am I with myself and others?
What courageous looks like: Brave; willing to take a risk; entrepreneurial; thinking the unthinkable.
Key messages: If you don’t do anything different, you will get the same results; whatever scares you the most is never as bad as you imagine it; if you don’t go through the door, you will never know how amazing it is on the other side.
Benefits: Brings unforeseen rewards; creates breakthroughs and opportunities; tests your capabilities and resilience.
Questions: What do you wish you had the courage to do? What stops you? What if that reason didn’t exist? Then how would you feel? What would you do different?
What driven looks like: Clear direction; purpose; initiative; movement; energy; self-motivation.
Key messages: A sense of direction and purpose; a commitment to achievement and results; motivation is your rocket fuel; your enthusiasm and passion are contagious.
Benefits: Essential part of team working, task delivery and job progression; working without direct supervision; ability to make decisions; able to lead others toward a common mission.
Questions: When have you failed, due to lack of ambition or failure to care? What do you do naturally without being asked? When have you gone beyond what was expected of you? What have you done or taken up off your own back to improve yourself?
What collaborative looks like: Solution-oriented; trusting; open; learning; mentorship; feedback; confidence; faith in others.
Key messages: Be prepared to ask both “why” and “why not?”; deliberately get to know and understand people who are different from you; work with others across boundaries to solve problems; diversify; be prepared to share.
Benefits: Helps break down barriers; avoids group think; creates an innovative work environment.
Questions: What problem have you helped solve through collaborating with other people? What idea has been generated? Which attitudes did they bring that complemented your own? Do you seek out those who think differently than you?
It’s not what happens to us that determines our lives, it’s what we make of what happens – our attitude. Adopt these attitudes to your life and career and you won’t just be employable, you’ll be a must-hire candidate!
About the Author: David Shindler is the author of “Learning to Leap, a Guide to Being More Employable.” An experienced coach and people development expert, David specializes in developing and accelerating employability. He also runs the Employability Hub (a social learning community and resource center) and the Learning to Leap group on LinkedIn and Facebook fan page. Tweet David, or contact him via his website.