Attitude is one of our Core Values at Crawford. What we mean by attitude is simply this: have a good attitude at all times. I'm sure you've hear the saying "It's you attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude." We believe this 100% at Crawford. Here's a great quote by football coaching great Lou Holtz:
"Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it." - Lou Holtz
My wife, two daughters and I took our oldest daughter to college this weekend - a wonderful experience filled with all kinds of emotions! While there we stayed at a lovely old hotel called The Terrace Hotel, located in downtown Lakeland Florida. I have a habit of waking early and going through a certain morning routine, and seeing as though I was in a hotel suite with my entire family (who were still sleeping), I grabbed my stuff and headed downstairs. Saturday morning was wonderful - cool breeze off the lake, peace and quiet as I spent time composing my daily email to you all, as the sun gently rose from the east. Sunday morning however, was a very different story.
I arose at the same time, headed downstairs, poured myself a delightful cup of coffee, and headed outside to my spot on the porch! To my surprise someone had beaten my too it. Bummer! So I headed to the other side of the porch. Unfortunately, the delightful breeze I experienced on the east side of the porch didn't reach the west side, making it too hot, so I headed back into the hotel and parked myself on a comfy couch in the tiny lobby, and began working on my e-mail.
After a few moments, the "night manager" returned to his post at the front desk. All of the sudden, this tiny gremblin-looking guy in an over-sized sport coat starts jamming out to some sort of techno-Haddaway music that pierced through the peaceful silence and turned my tranquil spot in this beautiful historic hotels lobby into a nightclub from the 90's. It was awful. And if that wasn't enough, this Moby want-to-be felt compelled to extenuate some of the "louder" parts of these miserable jams with the occasional sing along. I mean it was impossible to concentrate, but that lady was still in my spot so I had to persevere. But, it got worse.
After an hour of this misery, guests started appearing and so this night disc jockey had to actually start working. Which meant, the techno-Haddaway was replaced with nice, soft classical music. Finally! But my peace and tranquility didn't last long as the mood shifted from karaoke night to dawn of the living dead as I now got to witness what not to do as a leader. This guys attitude was horrible. In the 30 minutes I observed this guy, I witnessed so many leadership missteps I felt like I was back at my swing dancing class. And here's the thing, it all started with and was centered on this guys ATTITUDE. Here are some highlights of what NOT to do as a leader:
Degrade employees: the manager discovered some kind of sticky substance on the valet cart and immediately blamed the recently arrived valet guy. When the valet guy objected to the manager's loud accusation, saying he didn't put it there, the night manager in a very sarcastic tone, and in front of guests, said "well it must of come from you cause I didn't put it there." I'm thinking, "it probably came from your crazy hair gel as your were dancing to your 90's techno."
Horrible under pressure: then, as night manager/Moby want-to-be is checking out a guest, the phone rings. He excuses himself for a moment, and takes the call. It's from a staff member. Managers is like: "hurry up," "is this important," "oh that's not important, I'll have to talk to you later." And then he hangs up. Total disrespect, and no advice or leadership given. Just "you're not important, grow some brains and figure it out on your own."
Everything's miserable: I tell you the truth, in the 15 minutes I observed this guy dealing with staff and guests, he must have sighed or huffed at least 30 times. I mean you would have thought this guy was having the worst day of his life. I mean I literally think this guy thought he was the only one capable of doing anything at this hotel. And every time he was confronted with an issue, his go-to response began with a loud huff or a sigh. "You can't figure that out....loud huff...I'll be right there." His sigh or huff rate was easily 2 per minute.
This guys attitude was horrible. And as a result, his entire team suffered. No one had any desire to take the initiative as everyone lived in fear of this guys fragile emotional state and pending outburst. It's really sad when subordinates you feel more in control of themselves than their boss. This guy as a result of his poor attitude dragged his team down. To be a good leader, start by doing the exact opposite of the three things I mentioned above:
Praise employees: there's never a reason to speak poorly towards an employee - even if they've done something wrong. You can critique or be critical and still speak in ways that encourage. Good leaders do that.
Cool under pressure: subordinates look for their leaders to be calm and cool under pressure. They feed off that . If the leader's frazzled, then everyone else is frazzled. Even if frazzled inside, on the outside good leaders project confidence and calmness.
Positive attitude: good leader always have a positive attitude. When things go wrong, a good leader remains positive and seeks a solution. When people are down and discouraged, a good leader lifts everyone's spirits by finding something positive to focus on and move forward.
Here's the really cool thing about what I just said - you don't have to be a leader to praise employees, be cool under pressure, or have a good attitude. Sometimes the leader isn't the guy with the title - its the guy or gal with the right attitude.