Episode 31: How's Your Attitude Indicator?

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The attitude indicator on an airplane is very important. It informs the pilot of the orientation of the aircraft relative to the horizon, so it must be correct at all times regardless of the plane's movements. This means that the attitude indicator needs to be continually monitored to ensure a smooth flight and level glide path. It is likewise with us. As Chuck Swindoll points out, “Attitude can make or break a company, an organization a church or even a family.” Are we aware of what our attitude indicators really are? Have we checked our attitude indicator recently? Are we monitoring our attitude indicator periodically? How are our attitude indicators kept from drifting? Are we continuously on Auto-Pilot? The answers to these questions above go a long way to determining our personal and profession flight path. We have heard it said that Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we respond to it. This means turning off our personal auto-pilot about what we thought we knew.

Lee Hubert is a Leadership Coach, Trainer, Facilitator and Keynote Speaker with Voltage Leadership in Roanoke, Virginia. He brings energy and enthusiasm to grow leaders at all levels, help managers reduce conflict and build teams that produce results. Lee has served in various human resources and leadership development roles at Fortune 500 companies including: MCI, Wisconsin Energy, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Wake Forest University Hospital, and the Hospital Corporation of America. As a public speaker, he has presented leadership development topics at management retreats and strategic planning sessions throughout the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern USA. Lee brings over 20 years’ experience in Management Training, Employee Engagement, Performance Management, Succession Planning, Employee Relations and Conflict Resolution to bear for clients of Voltage Leadership.


Jeff: Welcome so glad you could be with us. I’ve got Lee Hubert here today. Lee?

Lee: Yes, yes sir.

Jeff: Lee and I just finished lunch on the back porch because you know Tuesdays with Jeff and Lee are always beautiful days. You know that book, Tuesdays with Morrie. You know if you want good weather, come to Virginia.

Lee: There you go.

Jeff: On Tuesdays with Lee and Jeff. It’s great. Hey welcome. This is VoltCast Illuminating Leadership so glad you could be with us each week. I know many of you have listened to us live, but then others listen throughout the course of the week.

We appreciate the notes and ideas that we get for the show so let’s tell you how to contact us right at the beginning here. You can reach us during the show at 1-866-472-5788. You can email me at Jeff@VoltageLeadership.com. I try to take a look at those during the breaks so please, if you want to email in we’ll take your question here.

Our website is VoltageLeadership.com. You can like on Facebook at Voltage Leadership, connect with me on LinkedIn at Jeff Smith Voltage Leadership Consulting or LeeHubert@VoltageLeadershipConsulting and you can follow me on Twitter at JMUJeff. Lee you know, it is just great to have you back so we’re lucky to have Lee. I mean he is a sought-after speaker. He’s been traveling here, there, and everywhere.

Giving speeches and facilitating change with groups. I’m just glad that you are off the road for a day or two to come in for the show.

Lee: I appreciate that. I was just in Richmond speaking to the Virginia Long Term Care Conference. It was all good. It was a great, great audience. They had a pretty dive into the content and some of those things we’re going to share a little bit about today so it’s fresh and top of mind.

Jeff: Well I love it. Today is going to be how’s your attitude indicator? We’re going to be building from an instrument on the plane and all about attitudes. If I’d been really on top of it, I would have gotten Kevin, who’s our sound engineer extraordinaire, I would have gotten him to bring us in today with a little Jimmy Buffett. It will change his latitude, change in attitude.

Maybe at break we’ll have that. I think this is a great time to have this topic too. It’s spring. You know we’ve kind of maybe gotten away from our New Year’s resolutions and all of that. It’s the time to sort of say, “Huh. Let me just kind of check where I am.”

Lee: Get your year off the ground. Things are happening. Everybody’s running and gunning busy right about now. You know, in April people kind of catch their breath a little bit. Let’s have an attitude check.

Let’s check the attitude. To your point and for all you pilots out there and all of you folks that don’t or aren’t pilots. Here’s the analogy. You’re looking at the instrument board. You are the pilot. You are determining your course and you have instrumentation.

Sometimes instrumentation is before a particular pilot, but they don’t see it or they can’t hear it. One of those indicators is an attitude indicator. Sometimes you think, okay do I have an attitude indicator installed and working? Does it need to be installed? We’re going to touch on some of those things. It’s very important, so the pilot can keep the wings of the plane level and it needs to be constantly checked.

Not to freak anybody out, but your pilots already know this. If you’re on autopilot and you get stuck in this rut, in this autopilot kind of mindset. Everything’s the same. There’s no variation, you can be in what they call the spiral of death.

The spiral of death. You don’t want the graveyard spiral and the analogy is you—it requires you to check your attitude.

Jeff: I like it. You know, another analogy is the zombie zone sometimes too.

You walk each week, week in, and week out, and Lee is not like this, but I know you have people in your workplace. It’s like they come in on Monday and it’s like. Ugh, happy Monday and they’re like oh whatever you know and then there’s like hump Wednesday. They’re just so excited. They’re halfway through the week and finally it’s like fantastic Friday. Thank God, it’s Friday, and it’s like wait a second. Each day could be awesome and fantastic.

Lee: If you’re happy and you know it, tell your face okay.

Jeff: Yes, and so this is really saying, look a lot about attitude and chartering your course. Here is you taking control again and not just giving that up to your workplace, your boss, your circumstances, right?

You know as we start to talk about this, I’m really curious about why do you think this is so important. Why make it a topic of our radio show today?

Lee: Well a couple of things. You’ll have the attitude of people that are going to customer facing, client facing, and as you know from years in healthcare and other businesses that rubs off on people.

One of my favorite quotes is the Chuck Swindoll quote. Most people have heard this, and an excerpt is, “the longer I live, I just realize the impact of attitude, attitude has on me. It’s far more important than anything else. It can—it’s more important than money, than education, than status, than just about everything and it can make a family, a church”.

In a company or team, if the person setting the agenda—the person guarding the attitude, the person instilling the attitude has a bad attitude or isn’t aware of the attitude of the people on the team that are doing the work. Ooh that’s a bad situation. There’s a lot of work to do there and earlier today. Diane Nguyen, who for all you who don’t know, Diane is our newest member at Voltage Leadership. She’s our admin, office manager.

She knew I was speaking in Richmond and asked me this morning. Are you going to mention your marvelous Monday? I thought, sure. I’ll do that because, to your point Jeff, here’s what it is. You get there on Monday, how are you doing?

That’s thrilling. That’s exciting. Check your attitude. It’s Tuesday, how are you doing? Well it’s one day closer to Friday, right?

Okay it’s Wednesday. Yes, it’s hump day and finally you get to the point when it’s like, look are you aware of that. I’ll tell people how are you doing? It’s Monday. I’m having a marvelous Monday. I hope you are. Then you’re blocking it. It’s a form of stopping these people from dishing the dirt. It’s a now—okay I guess I must have a marvelous Monday now because you’re forcing me too. Is that terrible?

Jeff: Interesting! I’ll go back to this Chuck Swindoll. You know attitude can make or break a company, an organization, a church, or in a family. What I’d want you to understand about what we’re talking about here is (and you know it’s our third analogy and we’re only a few minutes in this show—seven minutes into the show).

Lee: That’s very analogous. That’s right.

Jeff: Yes, exactly, but I look at also like you’re out on a boat and what’s the wake you’re leaving behind you?

So for leaders, just understand that we’re always being watched. The attitude that we’re bringing into the workplace, that we’re bringing into the team meeting etcetera has a real ripple effect. You may not have meant to have said something bad about your boss or about a decision that’s being made. Just that attitude that you are casting out there means that the people that are working for you and on your team and even peers, that’s having that ripple effect and so we’ve got to constantly sort of be understanding what it is about our attitude. I want to share an example and then I’ll kick it back over to you Lee.

This was about two or three months ago—this was an internal Voltage meeting. We were going to do about three hours of strategic planning and updates, and right before the meeting, I walked out of a discussion that didn’t have anything with our team. It was a tough discussion. I was frustrated with the discussion, and then I come in to facilitate our Voltage staff meeting and I was mentally still in my previous meeting.  About eight or nine minutes in, I could just see that I was snarky, you know I was just kind of out of character.

You know we’ve sort of done this opening round. I was just annoyed, and it was just like you could just see it on everyone else in the Voltage meeting. I could see you guys shutting down.

I’m like, “Ah crap.”  Afterwards, what I did was I just called time out.

I said, “You know what? This has nothing to do with you guys. Let’s take a two-minute break. Let me go get a drink of water and then I came back in and we reset about 15 minutes in the meeting. We reset so that we could have a good two hours left. I wish I hadn’t set us off that way.

I recognize the weight. I could just see in you guys. What was happening had nothing to do with you guys. It had everything to do with that last call, and so part of this attitude is just understanding the weight that we’re leaving behind and to just start to be aware of it, recognize it, and just be more intentional about it.

Lee: I’m loving that. That is a perfect Segway into some of the things we’re going to be talking about.

Jeff: There you go.

Lee: We are sort of very analogous about boundaries, right? As today’s discussion unfolds, we’re going to talk about some of the questions that need to be answered. Then get into the practical tips and takeaways.

First thing that comes to mind is boundaries. What you just said, there are times where people will come into a room and their attitude may be suffering for whatever reason. There are people around your table for whatever reason whose boundaries are very close to their chest that are going to assume responsibility for that attitude. In truth, in fact, point of fact has nothing to do with them.

They’re going to accept ownership and then before you know it, you’ve got somebody down the street with this story in their head. It has nothing to do with reality.

Then oh my goodness where did that come from? Usually, cleanup is larger so it’s like don’t even bother going there. Reverse is also true. You get some people that probably should be taking a little bit more ownership. They’re a little bit more aloof, but that’s the point. Where are the boundaries and understand we have things called people and human beings and leaders and people on teams all overlap in some place?

Jeff: It’s good. I think before we deep dive because we’re coming up towards a break, there’s some questions I want to really dive into after the break. I was talking about this with a healthcare CEO just recently, and he was at a healthcare system that quite honestly, their infrastructure is not very good. Like it was old.

It was in an inner city. It was not great and his mother in law was there and you know this is not his health system. When we first got there, he’s like, “I don’t know about this and ooh.” Well he came back because his got some newer buildings.

He’s got an older building, but he’s got some new buildings. What changed for him though was, he saw the quality of the nurse that’s 23-24 years old, so relatively new, which every time looked the patient, looked at his mother in law in the eye. Look him in the eye and asked, “is there anything else I can help you with? What else can I make do to help make your day special? We know this is a challenging time for you. What can I do for you?” He walked away like, “Oh my gosh.”

Lee: With a new attitude.

Jeff: Right, you know he saw mold growing. He came away thinking, holy cow! Meanwhile, one of his folks under him is complaining about the building space and that’s keeping him from patient satisfaction.

He goes, “Ha, let me tell you about this story.”

He saw this all over. He ended up interacting with four or five nurses over three days and he just saw it consistently. What I would say to somebody that is like, “Ah you should see our building, or you should see the type of customers I deal with or you should see the constraints that are put on me.” This health system had all of that and they still had employees who, that understood their mission, walked around with this fantastic attitude and that was going to lead to great patient experience.

Lee: Boy I’ll tell you what, wait ‘til you get to all of the things that when they measured their measures, metrics, patient satisfaction, all of those things that make their business go. What price would you put on that?

Jeff: Ah yes. It’s wonderful! I’ve got Lee Hubert. He will be with us all day today. We’re going to be talking about attitude. When we come back from break we’ll start to dive down in some questions that you can be asking yourself as well as your team to say, “Am I on the right flight path or my attitude?” When we come back from break, we’ll pick up with that. We’ll see you in two.


Jeff: Welcome back. I am here today with Lee Hubert.

Lee: Yes sir.

Jeff: Lee is, as many of you know, works with us at Voltage and is often out speaking or working with our clients and helping them to be more successful in their adventures. One note, we don’t say this much on the show, but often what we’re trying to do is we’ll have the show and then we’ll do a blog in the next couple of weeks that has to do with the show. If you’re not currently receiving our blog, shoot us an email at Jeff@VoltageLeadership.com or go out to our website, VoltageLeadership.com and you can find our blogs there and you can subscribe to it.

Lee: Yes.

Jeff: Lee’s got this one. How’s your attitude indicator? A lot of these questions that we’re getting ready to go out will be in the blog and like we had Jennifer on the show last week. She also has a two-part blog coming out from the show. I know many of you are driving or listening to us while you’re running or walking, you might not have your ability to take the notes. If you join our blog list, again it’s at VoltageLeadership.com then you can get on the blog list so and you know I don’t when we talk about that and, but we’re both looking at.

Lee: That’s a great point.

Jeff: Looking at Lee’s blog here and know that the questions we’re getting ready to go through are brilliant, but you may not have time to write them all down as we go through them. Just know that a blog will be coming out in a few weeks with this as well.

Lee: Right so if you go to VoltageLeadership.com, you’re going to see A) all the archives of these radio shows and B) the content. At the bottom of the blog, I try to include the link to the specific show, so you got the whole thing right under your nose.

Let’s continue the changes in latitude, changes in attitude show that we’ve got going on today. Lee, you’ve got some of these great questions here that I’m just looking at that will help us on our personal professional flight path. Not just ours, but our team. You want to run through a few of these key questions for us.

Lee: Absolutely. Let me start with the HR door sometimes. People come to me.

Jeff: Wait knock knock knock.

Lee: Knock okay here.

Jeff: Thank you.

Lee: I’m busy.

Jeff: Go away.

Lee: Go away, this is HR. Come back Friday at 3 o’clock. I’ll send you an invite you better be there. Should I bring a box? No just kidding.

Jeff: This from two former HR executives.

That’s a little bit of an inside joke please we’re not picking on HR.

Lee: Exactly so when you look at this you think okay our phone rings and it’s right or somebody comes through a door and they say, “Okay, I got somebody on my team that’s talented.” Okay well what does that mean? Well they’re difficult. Okay well what does that mean? Well they have a bad attitude. Okay well what does that mean? Can you be more specific? I mean are you talking about performance, are you talking about EQ, IQ, all this kind of stuff, right? One of the things I wanted ask and to your point these questions are you know, are we aware of what our attitude indicators really are. Sometimes people have blind spots. Can you believe it?

You know I mean it just goes with the territory and when I bump into one of my blind spots, it’s like oh it is such a revelation. It’s like intellectually you’ll know it, but other times attitudinally sometimes you’ll default when you’re going through the flight path of your day, your busy day, going from destination point A to point B. I’m not so sure so you’re going to get feedback from people in your environment.

Here’s some of the other questions. Have you checked your attitude indicator recently? Do you check it and are you monitoring it periodically? Now that sounds like it’s obvious, but I’m not so sure it is to a lot of people because if that was the case.

We’d have wonderful attitudes walking around, habitually right? Another question is how are attitude indicators kept from drifting? Meaning that you must do a certain amount of instrument maintenance. You must do calibration.

Like a lot of highly sensitive instruments, your attitude indicator can slip by the calibration and ooh you can be off course. Ooh you can be in the spiral of death and not even know it if you’re on autopilot. Another question is: are you on autopilot and if so are you there continuously? Meaning that are you in Jeff’s zombie zone?

If you are, wow, why is that? Tell me about why you’re there and what does that feel like? There’s a whole bunch of other questions to ask, but those are the one we want to tee up for the time being.

Jeff: You know I’m going back to this one. Have you checked your attitude indicator recently? Are you monitoring your attitude indicator periodically? You know I would say that there are some folks that just are around you day in and day out that can help so much. You know and so my case you know I don’t know about Jane for you, but Beth is a great one for me.

You know so there will just be this and she knows this about me. We’ve mentioned it in the past, but I pretty much run every day that I can. You know and sometimes like I was traveling the other day and with the flight couldn’t do, but six days out of seven and if it’s a weekend and you know I haven’t got the run in and I’m just wound a little too tight. Beth will just give me that little feedback of what—have you gone for your run yet?

Lee: No.

Jeff: You know I would say A you know we’ve been married almost 21 years there you know she has every right to say that.

That’s a short cut to sort of saying, “Hey you’re being a little snippy with the kids or you’re just a little uptight about it” or you know she’ll—not just her, but others will say something like, “You know what you’re worrying about does that matter in a year?” You know so just those.

Giving that power to somebody else you know so for leaders you know who’s that trusted person on your team? Who can be that person that can just say?

Lee: Interesting.                                     

Jeff: Hey check me. You know like I can sometimes get on autopilo, the weeks are kind of just flown by.

You’re busy. Hey what are you hearing out there? You know what’s that? Where are you? Lee and I, this is the third time we’ve worked together.

Lee was often that kind of person for me. Lee, what are you hearing out there? You know, what could I be doing a little differently? What’s something that I’m a little off track?

Hey I know that not everyone liked at one point, Lee was on a team with about 17 or 18 people and you know I was a change agent and really pushing the organization. I’d be like, you know go to Lee and just say, “Hey I know that probably some people didn’t respond really well. What’s the general sort of attitude of the team around this change though?” You know so Lee was often my attitude indicator for the team.

Lee: Interesting, it’s like what’s the word out on the street and yes, you know borrowing, installing the attitude indicator in your forehead backwards so people can read it right when they look at you or you could look at in the mirror and say, “Why are my wings level? Am I flying right? Is my nose up? Is my attitude correct? Is my attitude a problem right here?”

You mentioned a key word and that’s trust. You know, a trusted person and we’ll talk about this more later in the show I think too, but there’s you know things that happened to do with trust and distrust. You know sometimes teams get cranked up and there’s you know stress. It can be stressful and sometimes people react and, but there’s positive stress, you know for people who are being motivated to accomplish a goal.

Then there’s distress, which is some of this other stuff that’s going on. It has to do with attitude. Let me ask the question rhetorically. How many bad attitudes on a team of 17 or 20 or however many it is does it take to poison the well?

Jeff: One.

Lee: Yes, one and there are times I was speaking in Richmond. I’ll be speaking in Atlantic City over the summer time. We’re going to talk about some of these very things. I just spent x number of dollars to on board somebody, so you know in your mind’s eye, get out your check book now right. How much is it costing you to bring this person on board?

You worked real hard. Find them. Tell them. Sell them. Ramp them onboard them and guess what I’m turning them lose on to the team with all 100% positive attitudes right?

Well it only takes one and then that word on the street that you’re just alluding to, that changes and here’s the question. Okay well what’s it really like here? I know what the leader is doing. I know what their saying. Is that just corporate happy talk? What’s the real skinny here? I tell you there are people—we’re going to get into a talk about Schadenfreude in just a second, which is the German word for dishing the dirt.

Birds of a feather you know liking to engage in that none productive, gossipy kind of stuff. That has to do with attitude. Some time ago we were talking about the drama triangle and people being persecuted or victims and that kind of thing. It affects their attitude.

I think I’m victimized somehow. Now I changed that perspective because it’s a marvelous Monday right. Let me get this right. You’re working for this organization you’re working fulltime.

Wow, you’re getting healthcare benefits. Big deal nowadays and let’s see you aspire to do what? We have tuition benefits and we have these other things. We’re setting your feet on a good career path here. Now tell me what you’re unhappy about again because let me tell you. There’s a lot of people love to be in your shoes.

Jeff: Sure. Yes, you know I’m just pondering too that it’s hard to be the leader, right? My first coaching call this morning was with a person and they’ve had a couple critical exits from in this organization. She’s very worried because what’s happened is it’s because of a conflict between two leaders and their attitude towards each other is just bleeding down. They’re losing key IT resources. It’s now happening, the people are naming that. You know so they’re seeking.

Lee: In an exit interviews with them?

Jeff: They have said that was the cause. This stress has led me to look and when I found that you know the grass is greener in the other side, whether it is or not, we don’t know.

Lee: Holy cow.

Jeff: It’s because of this attitude that’s sort of spilling out of hey we’re going to instead of seeing the best in each other, we really are like you know in that dreaded drama triangle, in the gossip and all of that. I think for us to start to understand, I’m going back to that. Do we have a trusted advisor or a team in our organization that can sort of level set us and saying, “Hey you know is something going on here?” You know certainly I know for myself during a three week stretch of a lot of travel.

You know I am—I tried to stop by the office to say hi, see folks and all of that, but I know that it’s like okay what do we need and let’s get it done. I know that come May, you know probably need to take the team out to lunch. Let’s go get away so it doesn’t have to be that it’s permanently that way. You can recognize, but you can name it and say, “Look a lot of travel. A little stressed right now.” Get out in front of the little bit.

It also is helpful if you get someone on your team just saying, “Hey, Jeff. I’m noticing this about you. Who are you going to trust?” Don’t forget this. You can’t shoot the messenger because then no one’s going to message again.

Lee: When we say, “Jeff you’re running a little high RPM today there, Jeff?” The answer is oh well I guess I am.

Jeff: Yes, I am or I’m a moving target.

Lee: Or a moving target. Wait let me think of something. I’m going to add on to this you know we—leaders have a relationship and they have responsibility to preserve that relationship.

: Because they’re working through people that it makes things happen. You know we’ll do talent assessments we talk about this in Richmond and, elsewhere right? We ask what we call the ten questions. You and I have done this behind the closed door with executives here in Virginia and other places. First question is on a scale of ten in your mind’s eye okay slash ten.

What are they technically? They are good at their job. They have the technical expertise do their job. Usually you hear like an eight or something like. Second ten is where are they attitudinally? Meaning people skills, EQ. What’s that number? A lot of times you see the face wince. They go, “Ooh, well let’s talk about that. Well okay give me a number.” Well do you mean at home? I mean just give me a number.

Usually you get like a four so if we average those two numbers together and if we hear less than seven, the Voltage question is well how long have you been willing or are you willing to tolerate mediocrity. In some cases, a long time.

Jeff: That’s one of my favorite question, you know how long you are willing accept mediocrity. You know and one other ten to write on that and then we’ll be head to our break here is we often promote ten or the eight on technical. This leadership skill is only a five.

You know and so part of that then leads to their attitude being the four or five because they feel overwhelmed and they can’t handle it. I’d really make sure you question who are promoting? When we come back from break, we’re going to start to dig down a little bit more, some tips and tools for you. We’ll be back in two minutes to continue our conversation about attitude.


Jeff: Welcome back. This is Jeff Smith here with Lee Hubert today.

Lee: Yes sir.

Jeff: So we’ve been talking about attitude and we’re going to sort of wrap something in the last section and then give just some practical tips and tools to dive in. Lee, I think there’s something—one more thing you want to cover from our last section.

Lee: When you think about the tens, the 10/10 question, technical and then you know EQ people skills. You were talking about these two executives just a moment ago. There was a conflict okay, so you may be great technically at what you do. I made this point at Richmond to some of the health care folks just you know the other day. You get to the tipping point and at what point where it doesn’t matter how good you were technically because nobody can stand to work with you.

Jeff: You’re not leading people. You are that one poisonous attitude on the team that’s actually counterproductive and costing us money because I’m telling people, “Hey have I got a deal for you. Why be on our team? You want to come to work for this company.” Like as you know from that I have things like the Gallop Survey and people start to quit the manager first.

Lee: Right so I’ll look at that and go, “Ooh you have a cultural fiduciary responsibility not to do that, not to be attitudinally challenged.”

Jeff: Yes, great point and we’ll wrap up that part on you know sometimes you go to HR and people think that you can’t fire somebody on attitude right and that’s just not true. You know you.

Lee: You got a problem with that?

Jeff: Yes, exactly. It might be easier to let somebody go based off strictly performance and if they haven’t been here a certain number of days or they in sales, they miss—you know straight quarters. Yes, those are tangibly easier to measure right. Let’s not make a mistake. Attitude is about the behaviors you’re demonstrating in the workplace. You’re not technically in firing on attitude, you’re firing somebody or letting them go off the behaviors they’re demonstrating in the workplace.

Absolutely, this is a conversation that you can have with human resources or if you’re lack HR then with you leader or yourself. Let’s not lose track that yes, you know if you set that expectation, this is the type of behaviors that we’re expecting here and someone who doesn’t abide by that and it shows up, we would label a bad attitude. Get them out of there because they are poisoning the well.

Lee: I’ll add just one thought and we’ll go for it. In some of our clients right now as you know, we do a thing called the team charter and we ask a couple of questions. Question one why does the team exist? We exist to. Second one is we aspire to become. Where are we headed to? What’s our team?

Jeff: Have desired outcome where we want, yes.

Lee: What’s the team vision? The third thing is the team code of conduct exactly to you.

Here are the behaviors that make points one and two happen. That’s and if for some and you delineate what those are and when people violate those you pull them aside and say, “Look you know, not sure what the motivation is, but we’re talking about the behavior again.” You know they retain a relationship, this behavior is you know counterproductive contrary to why we exist and where we’re going. I’m just saying okay now if people can hear that. That’s awesome. If they can’t hear it, you’ve done your part. It means you can’t force them to hear you.

Jeff: That’s good. Well let’s do a deep dive here into some tips and tools for folks. You know I think they’re getting hey attitude matters. I will tell you it matters even more for superstars. They’re watching and if we’re not addressing a poor attitude, bad behavior on there. They are likely to say, “I don’t know if I want to keep working with this later.” Because so.

Lee: They’re imminently marketable.

Jeff: They can go and so you’re left with the sort of mediocre talent or poor attitude.

Lee: Absolutely, you got a boatload and you’re going to spiral downward.

Jeff: Alright so Lee I think you got some tools and tips here.

For us so why don’t you start off and I’ll kind of comment off you the tips as we go along.

Lee: First of all, you need to install or update your personal attitude indicator and I’ve listed it as.

Jeff: The 2.0.

Lee: 2.0. It’s attitude 2.0 because you’ve got 1.0.

That was installed at the factory okay. You know it’s your default, but I’m talking about the upgrade now so be thinking about that and.

Jeff: I want to hit on that one just quick and it links to your number two, but I call this CYA. This is cheap. This is not cover your backside.

Lee: It’s a CYA.

Jeff: It’s a CYA. This is a choose your attitude and what I mean by that and I say this to my kids all the time. One of my—Philip my son, you know he was just having a little bit of challenge with one of his coaches recently. I’m like you know Phil, I can’t control what your coach does or does not do. What we can control is what is your attitude towards this situation.

Right and this is great life lessons. I will just tell you that for me, this personal indicator 2.0, when I get up in the morning, this is a bit hokey, but you know please understand that I choose a word for the day and sort of saying, “Hey you know today’s going to be magnificent. Today’s going to be—I’m going to be curious.”

Jeff: Like tomorrow, I’m doing a night session with some physicians and my first meeting is at eight in the morning and I’ll be going until nine o’clock at night.

I’m heading out on some vacation right after that. It’s going to be a very long day. I’ll probably wake to energy. Instead of being like, “Ugh, boy today’s going to be a long heavy day.” Suddenly an energy because you know what I have the energy to get through that day, but I might need to remind myself that this isn’t a 13 hour day. This is I’m going to have all this energy and then I get a break the next day.

I get vacation the next day.

Lee: You can choose your attitude into that point life is you know 10% what actually happens to you because at sometimes the big monster doesn’t show up.

You think it’s going to. It doesn’t and 90% how you react to it and so I would just apply this to both individual leaders as well as the people that you’re leading. You know the meeting you dread. Think about what you’re doing. You’re dreading the meeting. Your attitude going into the meeting is.

Lee: Dreaded.

Jeff: I’m bringing my laptop with me. I’m bringing the you know smart phone. Well your people and your team are doing the same thing and so starting to teach them. Hey what does it mean to be how will you be engaged in this meeting. How will you be engaged this one on one? How do you engage with this client? It’s about choosing your attitude. Lee calls that the personal attitude indicator 2.0, CYA. Alright, Lee you got some other things here.

Lee: Well the second thing is you take responsibility for piloting your own aircraft. You are the pilot. You are not on autopilot. If you leave it on autopilot, you don’t where it might end up. Every person controls their own craft.

We are no different. What you just touched on you know focus on arriving in one piece versus being right meaning focus on being effective. Your two leaders that had their impasse had their conflict as an example of that. Okay I’m officious and I’m thinking okay, well I’m all gust and you know I’m entitled to do this.

Well it doesn’t make it any more effective. You can have something negative happen or nasty happen, but it really is how you choose your attitude. I want to maintain the relationship because that makes me more effective. Now on the theater of the mind, if I wanted to be self-serving, I can you know convict the person they did this and their bad over and over. Okay, gee that’s swell. What does it add?

It certainly doesn’t make you any more effective. Another one is devise and communicate an excellent flight plan meaning that know what your plan is. File it with the team. Make sure the administration knows it and then follow it.

If you need to tweak it, great. Check in with the air traffic controller. Check in with the ground stations. Make sure that you know where you’re going and that you’re on course.

Jeff: Yes, Lee we’ll add two things so one is clear expectations, right? It’s taking the time to have the communication. I’ve got some. They’ve got some clear expectations, but then I never meet with the people. Things drift.

Jeff: You know you drift a little off that you know attitude indicator.

If we’re not back sort self-correcting and just modify a little bit now we end up in Omaha when we’re aiming for Cleveland.

Lee: That’s a problem. The pilot comes down says, “Ladies and gentlemen I’ve got some interesting news. We’re making great time. We don’t know where we’re going.

Another one is treat flight path corrections as valuable learning experiences because there are opportunities behind the problems.

Jeff: From previous shows we talk a lot about after action reviews or wrap up rounds. That’s a great one. You know a non-threatening way to sort of course correct so.

Lee: You’re going to hit some turbulence every flight at some point or another, every pilot runs into it. Then you mentioned managing your personal energy in addition to managing your time. Right so you are going to mentally change your attitude anticipate that long day, but don’t let it affect you adversely. That’s a good thing.

Then the other one is I mentioned earlier remove any schadenfreude from the autopilot meaning challenge the anti-culture. Don’t just tacitly accept negative or bad attitudes. Put your mental you know boundary up your philosophical boundary. I’m just not going to participate in that.

In fact as leaders you forfeit that.

Jeff: I call that a little of the no trying realization you know it’s not fair, but you know for you to come about Lee you know and Lee if you’ve got Jennifer that you want to talk about. I need to push you guys back and sort of say, “Tell me what you got. You guys can deal with it right?”

Don’t bring into me in this triangle.

Where it’s just not fair. It’s tempting because it can be fun gossip and talk.

Lee: People seem to glom on to that and it’s just counterproductive.

Jeff: It drives energy up in the moment. Right you get a little endorphin hit, but then as you walk away from the conversation and think about would I want people talking about me that way and does that other person think that I talk about people like that all the time?

There’s all this extra like guilt and things like that and so look we’re not saying don’t handle conflict, but when it gets into the schadenfreude how do you say it?

Lee: Schadenfreude.

Jeff: Schadenfreude and.

Lee: Schadenfreude.

Jeff: It becomes this. That was just Southwest.

Lee: Schadenfreude.

Jeff: Virginia accent trying to do German. Anyway, you get out of the dreaded drama triangle, right? You’re the one who can create it, so I think you got another one or two left so go for it so go for it.

Lee: Absolutely and make sure that you take time to compliment the flight crew because you have a navigator and you have people taking care of your paying customers. You have a crew and a team of people. You are one person and guess what? You’re the pilot sitting in the chair and you’re attitude indicator really drives just about everybody else in that team doesn’t it?

Jeff: I’m sorry I just can’t resist with everything that happened in United yesterday. Dragging the guy off the plane.

Lee: You mean the friendly skies?

Jeff: The friendly skies and the tweets that were going around the day or it was just like.

Lee: The pictures didn’t look too flattering.

Jeff: My favorite was Southwest. It says, “We beat the competition, not our customers.” I was just like wow, but you can see one attitude.

Lee: Yes.

Jeff: That could have been so handled differently.

Lee: Yes.

Jeff: Let’s not you know get into that too much, but millions of dollars of damage to the brand.

Lee: Probably.

Jeff: Yes.

Lee: The people that are delivering your paying customers the end product makes sure you take time to compliment the flight crew. Nice flight guys, smooth landing, enjoyed it all. Service was great. You know what I had a great experience. Thank you for the journey because you’re not—you’re piloting that journey they’re helping you get there. Another big point and probably the biggest one is enjoying the ride and express it with an attitude of gratitude.

Jeff: I love that one. Hey, we’ll probably pick up—we’ll hit that one a little bit more after the break. Here’s what I’d say about that, if you find yourself in a spot of stress, the way to get out of stress is to move to gratitude. Your brain can’t handle stress and gratitude at the same time. When you’re stressed, go to some gratitude. I am grateful that you are here with us today. I hope you come back in two minutes to hear the wrap to the show. Talk to you in two.


Jeff: Welcome back. I am here with Lee Hubert today and Lee and I have been talking about attitude and.

Lee: Yes, sir.

Jeff: It has been fun. We were pretty much laughing at break period. We were just you know, world events and things that.

Lee: World events so to speak.

Jeff: We’re going to wrap the show like we always do. We’ll do another minute or two contents here and then we’ll give you some of our best tools and tips from the show today. Lee if I was a listener out there I think one of the things I would be curious about is you know we’ve talked about a lot about the leader’s attitude, but how do I deal with it when I’ve got just some problem employee that’s got the attitude. You know let’s say that they are a reasonably good performer. You know back to our 10/10 concept you know maybe they’re an eight, but their attitude is like a four. Practically, what do I go do?

Lee: Well we had asked this question. Great question. Come behind the manager’s closed door. Go read our blogs. Get to the other radio show at VoltageLeadership.com, okay. Here’s what happens okay. In my mind, they’re technically good, barring anything going on in that person’s personal life.

Jeff: Sure.

Lee: Because life happens right.

Never mind we won’t go there. Life happens so is there something bad. Is your parent in the hospital or whatever, something happens, but barring that and backing that out have you been crystal clear with your guidance to that person? Have you been you know setting absolutely crystal-clear goals and roles and expectations? Barring that that is a performance issue.

Jeff: Yes.

Lee: Then they’re on short list or leash. You managed that person up or you’re managing them out.

Jeff: Yes, you know I agree completely. I think it’s 90 days up or out right. You know attitude is very fixable. You know, I’d also say, “Be patient.” Like you know if they are 90% good over a course of a week as they’re starting to change, and they have one meeting that ticks them off right. Unless they’re like throwing things at people, you know it’s going to take a couple of months for people to sort of navigate this.

Lee: Are these the ex-United Airlines employees you’re talking about?

Jeff: Yes, exactly, but it’s going to take a couple of months for people to overcome this too. Be reasonable, but it is setting expectations and looking them square in the eye and saying.

Look you know you may not think it’s a big deal because you are hitting the numbers. You are messing up our culture. You’re messing up the feel of our team. This is our team charter that you’re not living by. Again, you know I think another part of it is if you don’t have that team charter, you don’t have sort of the—what are the rules for being on this team? It’s never too late to start. You know we can do it right now.

Lee: That’s a great point. You’re hitting numbers therefore we can tolerate all this other stuff and that people fall into that all the time. We work with clients all the time.

You hear the words. You say, “Yes, but there’s such a great this or that and they are knocking the ball out of the park, but they are being so difficult, and their attitude is so terrible and they’re poisoning the rest of the team.” Yes, but.

Jeff: It’s going to get worse too guys. I’d hate to tell you. We’ve moved back into the spot where employees have choices. They’ve been reimbursed or retiring and there’s less people, millennials, many are not ready for some of the senior—mid to senior management jobs and so it’s going to get a little worse for a while where you’re going to feel like I don’t have options. I’ve posted this job. I’ve looked.

All I can tell you is you know that back to the analogy about you know one bad person can spoil the whole pot right? You know it will be hard, but the clients that are successful and the ones that I’ve worked with say—they always say I should have done it three to six months sooner. It is so much better and yes, we’ve dropped or touched on performance, but everyone else has picked it up and we’re excited to again.

Lee: Yes.

Jeff: That attitude is messing it up for others.

Lee: You’re off autopilot and don’t be there and don’t forget the rest of your crew is watching you okay. You’re over there in the flight deck and you’re the pilot here okay and they’re watching. It’s like does this—is this person pilot know where they’re going and are they communicating that? Do they get a—do they instill a sense of confidence?

When you walk under the airplane and you see the pilot sitting there and he’s got a Mickey Mouse pen on his lapel, not too many grey hairs in his head. You’re going okay, okay. That’s right. That instills lots of confidence, right? There’s an analogy there. It’s like you’re the leader. You’re sitting on the pilot’s chair. You want to instill that in your team, in your flight curve.

Jeff: That is great. Lee, you know we’re in the last part of the show here. What are some of the key tools and tips that you want us to take away from today’s show?

Lee: Well key takeaways, first understand that leaders drive attitude and leaders with positive attitudes build trust. I’ll say that again. Leaders with positive attitudes on display build trust. The people that get that, I mean it sounds obvious, but I’m not so sure.

Leaders that don’t do that build distrust because people think why you are upset. Am I asking undue ownership and they have all these ulterior motives in mind and it makes people recoil so it is that simple? Another key take-away is leaders with good attitudes know how they utilize positive stress. You know we talked about different tools at Voltage about how to use positive stress, how to navigate what is to move the team forward, how not to get stuck in the background.

Leaders who know it with good attitudes build positive stress as opposed distress. Bad attitudes breeds distress. That’s how it works. When you look at some of the tools at Voltage has applies and then we do the one with the ladder and all this kind of stuff. It’s how not to do that. Another take away and a clear one, a big one is when you set clear goals, you instill in your team a sense of purpose.

A sense of mutual purpose so if my attitude is good, I am leading the team. I am piloting this craft. You are my crew. We’re going to get there and I’m certain of it because I’m demonstrating my confidence, right? Confidence is contagious. Positive attitudes are contagious. Unfortunately, negativism and negative attitudes schadenfreude are also contagious. As the leader, we forfeit that ability and stay on this side of the ledger.

Jeff: I love it. I think for me. I’d want you take away CYA, the you know to cover your—you know the.

Lee: Cover your assets.

Jeff: Yes, it’s the choose your attitude. Like it’s up to us. It’s easily teachable to others on the team. You know I think it’s also to setting that team charter and what are the rules and expectations? What are the rules of our engagement with each other?

Whether that’s a small project team or it’s the team that you’re always or if that’s you know redefining your values and making sure that everyone lives that. I know that some of you are like, “Ugh, Jeff. You know we’re not that big and value seemed to be big things.”

I get it. You know I understand. If that feels like too much to bite off right now, control your team. What is it about the group that you’re working in that says, “Okay, what is our working relationship? How do we hold each other accountable?” Clear on expectations.

Lee: That is an excellent point. We talked about this enrichment and elsewhere. I’m going to be talking a bunch of different places throughout 2017 and beyond. One of those points is I may not be able to influence the overarching big circumference of the larger organization. When a CEO stands up in front of a group of people, 500, 100, whatever it is and says, “You’ve got me. Talk to me.” The next thing you hear is crickets.

Jeff: Right.

Lee: Now I may not be able to influence the larger organization as people on my team; however, I can influence that team. The analogy is it’s a wheel. These are spokes in the wheel. That person on my team is a spoke and I want to make sure—they have the right amount attention, not too slack so my contribution to the wheel runs nice and smooth.

Jeff: Nice and smooth just like the show today.

Lee: So smoothly.

Jeff: Perfectly smoothly. Thanks for being here today.

Next week Lee and Jeff will be back together. We will be talking about win and about influence and trust and of all good things right?

Lee: Absolutely.

Jeff: Then two weeks Lee is going to be flying. He’s going to host a show. I will be on a cruise.

Lee: Well cruising and it’s going to be about Lincoln on leadership, our 16th President of the United States all kinds of challenges. If you’ve a difficult day at work stay tuned.

Jeff: I love it. I love it. Throughout the course of the week, we do get notes and things from you. Please continue that and we’ll give you a sense for how to reach out to us. The reason that’s important is it helps gives us ideas about guest authors, etcetera that you want to be able to talk to.

Just give you a preview in a couple of weeks. We’ve got some new authors coming on board.

The book I’ve been working on will be published in June.

Lee: Oh yes sir.

Jeff: We’ll talk about that.

Lee: A round of applause.

Jeff: Go out to the Voltage Leadership website. You can see our radio shows as well as our blog during the week if you want to give us a call, it’s 540-798-1963. Then if you want to reach out, it’s Jeff@VoltageLeadership.com or Lee@VoltageLeadership.com and you can find us on LinkedIn at Jeff Smith or Lee Hubert Voltage Leadership Consulting. We appreciate you joining us each and every week. It’s a Tuesday and it means it’s a terrific Tuesday. The weather will be great and we’re always happy to have you aboard with us. Make it an awesome week and Lee and Jeff will be back with you again next week. Take care.