The importance of attitude, resiliency to a career

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Allen Simpson
  • 55th Comptroller Squadron commander
If you want to have a successful military career I have two words for you to remember -- attitude and resiliency. I believe these two words play a major role in how we're perceived by others and how we take on life's challenges.

Hopefully, the next few paragraphs demonstrate the importance of having a positive attitude and the ability to be resilient in life.

I believe we make choices each and every day, and one of our first choices is the attitude we select when we come to work. This decision is one of the most important you'll make each day. Why? Because your attitude affects not only you but every person you'll come in contact with.

You can either have a positive impact on those around you or you can be a negative, destructive influence. I once attended a training seminar where we were taught that workplace attitude and morale can increase or decrease cognitive skills, problem-solving, safety records, job performance, worker's health and resiliency.

There's the person with a poor attitude who comes to work and complains about everything that happens to them: It snowed this morning. It's too hot today. Look at my workload. Can you believe the customer wanted me to help him with that? Can you believe the boss wants me to stay late and finish the project?

I'm sure many of you have heard these comments before from coworkers. Did you ever notice people with this attitude never seem to have smiles on their faces or anything positive or good to say about others? I guess when they maintain such a poor attitude they just don't have anything good to say about anything. These people have the ability to bring down the rest of the group with their depressing attitude.

Do you really want to be "that person" with your coworkers and supervisors? Do you really want to see an annual evaluation note, "Terrible attitude, seems to complain about workload and additional duties?" I'm sure a bullet like that wouldn't be beneficial to a member's career.

What about the other side of the coin? We have all seen people that come to work every day with smiles on their faces and a positive attitude. The glass always seems to be half full for them. You just can't seem to get these people to have a negative attitude no matter what bad things may happen to them during the day. They take issues in stride, work to resolve them and expect a positive outcome.

These members are great for our organization because they're contagious and have the ability to brighten the attitude of everyone around them. How do you want your coworkers and supervisors to perceive you?

In addition to attitude, another important characteristic for success is resiliency. Resiliency is the ability to recover or bounce back quickly from setbacks and the ability to meet and accept change. This is a key quality in people that allows them to meet the ever changing requirements of the Air Force, the organization and the family.

Now, consider the two ways people within an organization react to change or setbacks.

First, there's the person who is resistant to change of any kind. If you're like me you've heard these famous words before, "we've always done it this way." These are the members within our organization we drag along anytime change occurs. They resist any new change like MyPay, the Defense Travel System and electronic payments. They would prefer a paper copy of their leave and earnings statement, completing a paper travel voucher and receiving an old fashioned paper check.

Let's also look at those individuals that are slow to bounce back from adversity or setbacks. When life deals these types of people a rough blow, they make the choice of feeling sorry for themselves and become victims instead of learning from the experience and moving forward. They prefer to wallow in their own problems rather than attack the problem. These members just hate the thought of change and have problems dealing with life's adversities.

On the other hand successful individuals meet new changes or setbacks head on. They're able to more easily adapt to change and look at setbacks as an opportunity. They ask themselves, "What can I learn from this and what can I do differently next time?"

These resilient people have a knack for finding the positive aspects in any new situation.

We need individuals in our organizations that are willing to make changes when necessary, for the benefit of the organization. As a military organization we need members who learn from setbacks and adversity and are willing to move forward and do what's best for the organization.

Take a few minutes to evaluate yourself and how others see you. Do you have the two things the organization needs from you -- a positive can do attitude and the ability to be resilient and meet new changes and requirements head on?

For the sake of your career and the benefit of the organization, I hope you do.