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Leadership: Attitude is Contagious

Enthusiasm is contagious, as is laughter. The same could be said for the negative ways of being. Have you ever watched a few people at the coffee machine (the new version of water cooler talk) trying to outdo one another? “I have had the worst day”. (only to hear back) “If you think you had a bad day, just listen to what happened to me!” and so it goes….

Enthusiasm is contagious, as is laughter. The same could be said for the negative ways of being. Have you ever watched a few people at the coffee machine (the new version of water cooler talk) trying to outdo one another? “I have had the worst day”. (only to hear back) “If you think you had a bad day, just listen to what happened to me!” and so it goes….

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As a Shadow Coach I always begin my partnership with a client by having a conversation. Years ago I might have done some assessments and in some cases, still do, but for the bulk of clients I work with, we go somewhere quiet to just talk. It’s amazing how their story emerges in conversation which gives me a wealth of information. This is the starting point and from there, as I work with them in the context of their worlds, I pick up the rest as it unfolds.

My clients become “Problem-free zones”. They make it very clear they are not a dumping ground for problems, rather they are a solution resource to help others work through issues and challenging situations. Last week I started working with a new client and arranged to meet her for a coffee to talk before beginning our sessions together. My first question to her was “What’s working really well?” She was flabbergasted! For a few minutes she didn’t know how to answer me. She was expecting me to ask what wasn’t working and instead we started talking about what was great. As her focus was on what was really good, she started recognizing the same in her staff. We implemented a “I caught you doing something good” policy in her division. Nothing like hearing that from your boss, right? Their collective attitude changed. They’re now speaking to the best in each other and getting more of it.

Staff gets to know me as I Shadow Coach my clients through the chaos of their days. No matter what’s happening, and often it’s global crises that we’re living through, there is always a spring to my step, a smile not far off and an energy that is tangible. That goes well beyond the moment in time. It’s also contagious.

Next time you find yourself complaining and negative, remember attitude is like a virus, not only contagious but reaches far beyond present company. Instead of negativity, spread the enthusiasm virus and see how much farther it gets you. Remember powerful people attract powerful people and whiners attract whiners. Which group do you want to be a part of?

Donna Karlin • Executive and Political Shadow Coach™ • Ottawa, Canada • •www.abetterperspective.com

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About the author

Donna Karlin CEC, Diplomate IABMCP and founder and principal of A Better Perspective® & The School of Shadow Coaching, has pioneered the specialized practice of Shadow Coaching® with global political, government, business and senior organizational leaders in the public and private sectors. Donna capitalizes on almost 30 years of experience in coaching, consulting and training to help clients and their organizations evolve into their level of excellence

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