Attitude vs Ability – Finding the right balance

Attitude vs Ability – Finding the right balance

There is a lot said about the importance of ability and rightly so. When an employer is considering someone for a role, they naturally want to be confident that the person they are looking at is capable of doing the job. So the ability to perform the required role is not negotiable. However, there is another factor to consider, and it is one that has a huge impact, and that is attitude.

Having the right attitude

Some people just seem to naturally have the right attitude to work, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot be learned or developed. So here are a few questions to ask yourself and some tips on what to do if the answer is not very positive.

  • Do you see yourself as a positive person at work? If not, then try to make an effort to avoid certain behaviours that make you feel less positive. Stay away from the gossip and the workplace politics for a start because they are rarely good for you. If you work with people who are quite negative, make sure their attitude doesn’t rub off on you and if possible avoid them. Toxic people tend to make others the same way.
  • Do you enjoy your job? This is a really big question. In actual fact, most people really enjoy their job overall. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t keep doing it. We all have a bit of a moan about work now and again and that is perfectly normal and actually probably quite healthy for us. However, if you find that you are genuinely not enjoying your work because the good bits are too few and far between it may be time to move on.
  • Do you volunteer and get involved? A job is not all about just turning up to work. Do you have a hobby that you could share with other workers perhaps? Could you get involved with the works sports teams or arrange some other social event? Not only will this help show you have a positive attitude towards your workplace it will also help you maintain it.
  • Do you get in on time and take your breaks? One of the things that workers with a good attitude do is make sure that they work in the way the employer wants. If you start at 9 am be ready to start at 8:55. Have your lunch, as working extra through breaks doesn’t prove anything and in fact, it could raise the suggestion that you are struggling with your workload.
  • Are you willing to try new things? There is nothing managers find more frustrating than a worker who will not adapt to new things or be prepared to change their methods when needed. Years ago a very good manager told me that there were seven words that they found more frustrating than any others ‘That’s how we have always done it’. They said it usually meant that the worker wasn’t interested in their job enough to consider looking at ways of making it better.

The 80/20 rule

There is a thing called the 80/20 rule which many people believe applies to attitude and ability, and it suggests that only 20% of any success story is based on the ability of the person. 80% is their attitude and approach to work.

One last question…

One last question for you, when it comes to the interview or the promotion, would you take the person with 100% ability to do the job but are terrible to work with because of a toxic or unwilling attitude, or would you take the one that you know may not be quite as skilled or experienced but would throw themselves into the work and be keen to learn and grow with the job? In our experience, a pocket full of good attitude will become a bag full of ability very quickly, and that will win hands down every time.

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