Paul G. Stoltz, Ph.D. has written a fascinating article in Psychology Today, entitled: “Six Ways Mindset Helps You Win at Work.” Thousands of employers in numerous industries and countries were asked if they would prefer to hire a candidate with “perfect skills and qualifications” or one with a mindset that fit the job and company. Almost unanimously—98 per cent—they chose the candidate with the right mindset. The companies further believed that they could predict the mindset of people they would want to hire within the next decade (96 per cent) and thought it far more likely that new hires would develop necessary skills rather than an appropriate mindset (97 per cent). People with the right mindset were chosen as more likely to receive a pay raise or promotion. Perhaps most incredibly, when asked how many ‘regular’ employees they’d trade for a person with the right attitude, the average response was 7.2.
Dr. Stoltz’ findings show that a positive attitude and a demonstrated positive mindset—one which shows “openness and connectivity,” “integrity and kindness,” “resilience, tenacity and intensity”—are a far more valuable attribute than any other, whether looking for a new job, a pay raise or a corner office. The right attitude makes any employee as valuable as seven of his or her peers in the eyes of coworkers and managers.
In recent years, we have witnessed a proliferation in the number of “happiness” books and surveys. It makes sense that most of us see this as the optimal way to live life and look for resources that help us to achieve this state of being. In fact, the quest to measure happiness has gone global. In 2008, the World Values Survey found that freedom of choice, gender equality, and increased tolerance are responsible for a considerable rise in overall world happiness.
In her book “Happiness at Work…Maximizing your Psychological Capital for Success” Jessica Pryce-Jones says that “the starting point of happiness at work is that it is self-initiated.” This supports my argument that practicing personal leadership; taking charge of our thoughts and actions, is a choice that is always available to anyone who is ready and willing to lead themselves.
Try this quick quiz (answer “yes” or “no”) to see if you are in the right headspace at work:
- I speak well of my colleagues in their presence as well as their absence
- I express any concerns regarding people and processes in a positive manner
- I give the same level of service internally as I do with my external clients
- I am aware of my non-verbal communication
- I think before I speak; most of the time
- If there are misunderstandings, I am able to let them go rather than ruminating
- I think of my work in “big picture” terms, rather than routine or mundane
- I recognize positive consequences of honing my listening abilities
- I am conscious of my mood and how it impacts others
- When I attempt doing something that takes me outside of my comfort zone, I consider the “best case” rather than “worst case” outcome.
7 – 10 “yes” responses
You understand that your mindset contributes to the overall atmosphere. When you put your best foot forward, you realize that your actions create synergy. You can “rise above” the differences and maintain a positive outlook.
4 – 6 “yes” responses
You are conscious of your thoughts, however you often feel powerless over them. Although you recognize that changing your outlook and responses could be liberating, you find that concentrating on the positive takes more effort
3 or less “yes” responses
Focusing on the “negative” is habitual and your self-perception is limiting your opportunities; professionally and personally. The willingness to view people and situations through a different lens isn’t a priority. You may be at “burnout” and need more than a vacation or a job-change to get out of your own head.