My car was being repaired on Wednesday, so I took the bus home from work. Fortunately, the main bus terminal is one block from our IT offices in Appleton. Unfortunately, the closest the bus gets to my house is over a mile a way.
I jumped on the bus looking forward to getting a little exercise with a crisp fall walk. By the bus arrived at my stop it was snowing hard and snow was accumulating on the sidewalk. I was feeling so sorry for myself I almost didn’t notice the person that got off the bus at the same time. When I did, he was smiling and trying to catch my attention. I returned the smile he went on to tell me that he was so happy to see the snow. It turns out he is a college student, on an exchange program from Guatemala, learning Business and English. He had never seen snow before. We shared much of the same path and time and weather seemed to disappear from my list of concerns as we had a pleasant conversation as we walked. Seeing his joy in what I was dreading completely changed my attitude.
At work attitudes are so powerful. Not only does a manager set the tone with their attitude and non-verbal signals. But all employees’ attitudes have so much influence over how a meeting is perceived. I value every employee’s opinion and when they appear uninterested or disagreeable, I cannot help be affected by that. Luckily, the folks I work with are supportive people.
Being a good listener and bringing a sense of excitement to your work is powerful. When I was relatively new to the workforce I remember listening to a fellow employee present some information. Whenever she missed a fact I would shake my head no. After a while I realized this was having a negative on her presentation (duh). Since then I always try to be a good listener. If someone is presenting and I am not expected to engage them in dialogue, I look them in the eye, I shake my head affirmatively and I smile. I know this puts people at ease which allows them to be their best.