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Attitude and abilities. These two words are my double “A” rule that I ask all my leaders to practice.

Managing people is an art. Many of us have different styles and personalities. One rule that’s worked universally in all levels is the double “A” rule I created and developed at my first company years ago. In fact, I still use it today. It’s simple: Every person must have both attitude and abilities – 2 of 2 of the “A’s”, not just 1 of 2.  If you’re managing someone lacking one of the two skills, give yourself a timeline to help that individual obtain the missing piece. Not having both pieces is a fast track to mediocrity. Not just for the company, but yourself as a leader.

Attitude  

How many times have we seen someone who started with a great attitude only to see it deteriorate? You must ask yourself what happened. Did you hire someone who lacks a positive attitude from the start? Regardless, having the right attitude, the will to succeed, the ability to complete projects on time, and fire in the belly is a must for long term success. Attitude is contagious and particularly important in a dense working environment. Positive energy will spread and help define a team’s culture. Alternatively, negative energy can harm a team’s progress or worsen it, creating unwanted turnover.  

Abilities

This is the toughest of the two key attributes to manage and detect. Often someone is the first to show up and last to leave, possess a willing and positive outlook, but simply lacks the experience or the aptitude to do the work requested. In my opinion, this is the number one cause of an average company. Nice people who do not perform are the toughest to manage as they do not provide resistance and they are easy to have around. As a leader, you must identify this group and come up with a specific plan to improve performance or realign that person to the position where they are better qualified.

I found that in practicing this simple yet very effective rule – attitude and abilities – I’ve helped many of our leaders grow. We all can agree that no one wants mediocrity. Follow my “attitude and abilities” rule and you will find your “A" team.