The Importance of Attitude in Getting a Promotion

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I wrote a post recently about the four things you needed to get a promotion. I won’t keep you in suspense – the four things are knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitude. After publishing the post, I received a question from a reader asking about the importance of attitude in getting a promotion.

promotion, attitude, success, promoted, behavior, job

Here’s my two-cents about attitude.

I believe that feedback should be specific, timely, and behavioral. I’ve never seen employees get angrier than when a manager just says they have a “bad attitude.” That being said, attitude is important. And when you can turn attitude into action…that’s valuable. For example:

Instead of saying an employee has a bad attitude, describe those behaviors that send the message. And be specific. It might be slamming doors or the phone, ignoring co-workers, or derogatory comments.

Instead of saying an employee has a good attitude, describe the behaviors that send the message, such as a willingness to stay late or come in early, customer comments, or team participation.

In my experience, attitude drives behavior. And behaviors are found in knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs.) It’s a combination of all these things that makes the difference.

Now, you might be saying, “If attitude shows up in knowledge, skills, and abilities, why not just focus on KSAs?” It’s a good question. When we get a promotion, we don’t know it all. There’s a learning curve. Attitude is the thing that tells the organization that the employee is going to put forth the effort to learn. They’re going to take on the challenges. And they will persevere through the failures.

Let me add that, just because an employee has a great attitude and demonstrates it in their work, this isn’t an invitation for the organization to take advantage. Every job has its bad days. We can’t simply say, “Get over it.” We need for employees to maintain a positive outlook and we have to find way to offer encouragement.

As business professionals, I know we focus a lot on outcomes and results. We need to. But the way we approach the work is equally important.

Image taken by Sharlyn Lauby after speaking at the Learning and Development League 2016 Annual Conference in Delhi, India

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December 5, 2016 at 08:05PM

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