Attitude is Everything

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When it comes to hiring people, attitude matters, so look for job applicants with a positive attitude. And be sure to develop it in yourself and your organization too.

Leadership training consultant Mark Murphy tracked 20,000 new hires at Fortune 500 companies and found that nearly half of them failed within the first 18 months on the job. An overwhelming 89 percent of those failures stemmed from “attitudinal reasons,” he found.

Author and educator Roger Martin told the Harvard Business Review that he once hired only “smart” candidates. After many of those high-potential employees failed, Martin turned his attention to candidates he deemed less “brittle.” Those workers turned out to be more successful. They listened to feedback, sought professional development and improved morale on their teams despite having slightly lower GPAs than the “smart” candidates.

So hire for attitude – and seek to improve it in your own organization too. Make sure you come to work each day with a positive attitude so your employees can feed off that. And take steps to make sure your working environment is positive too.

Set reasonable goals and expectations. Author Geoffrey James recounts the story of a salesman who was only happy when he closed 7-figure deals. As that happened only about once a year, the salesman wasn’t happy very often. So give your team a combination of “quick wins” and “stretch goals” so they have reason to celebrate regularly while still aiming high. James recommends developing a list of rules for your business that encourage happiness. With greater transparency and reasonable expectations, employees will understand that happiness matters in your company’s culture.

And encourage your employees to start the day with a good attitude. Perks like bagels and fruit and a hearty welcome from the boss can help.

Adapted from Hire Positive People to Build a Thriving Business by Joe Taylor Jr. at Small Business Computing.