Your Aptitude and Your Attitude determines THEIR Altitude
April 29, 2010 by Jeff "Odie" Espenship
Leaders by definition influence the behaviors of those around them. At various times throughout the workday, each of us has the ability to influence the behavior of those around us! It does not matter that you hold a managerial position, or a formal leadership position at your compnay, each of you can be considered a leader of others at some point or another.
Our outlook on life, our mannerisms, our on-the-job-approach, our skill level, in short our ATTITUDE and APTITUDE that we exude daily to others carries tremendous weight when it comes influencing what they think, react, and behave towards us.
I say, “Your Aptitude and your Attitude determines THEIR Altitude”
Think about it: “Your Aptitude and your Attitude determines THEIR Altitude!”
You personally have the power to raise and lower the altitude of those around you!
As I look back on my days as a young fighter pilot, there were certain individuals that I really looked up to, I’d do anything for them, I’d run through walls for them, I’d leap tall buildings, when they said “JUMP”, on my way up I’m asking “How high?”. What was it about them? What did they possess?
What did they have as a person that I so admired in them that they had such extraordinary influence over my behavior, my thought patterns, my actions, my perceptions, my values, and thus my daily job conduct?
What was it about those people that influenced me in such a manner that made me want to rise to a higher altitude?
I believe it was two distinctive qualities they had. I think you’ll agree with me, in your company you’ll probably find the same distinctive qualities in people you consider as “people of influence.”
First of all, I looked up to their APTITUDE, their job competence, their skill, their experience, their knowledge. In short I perceived them to be great fighter pilots, to be great at doing their jobs! Not because they told me how awesome they were, but because of what I perceived. It was what I saw, what I heard, what I felt about how they did their job.
I saw that they embraced every opportunity to learn their craft; they kept themselves up to speed in the books; they listened to others. They were humble. They admitted mistakes; they had no problems saying “I don’t know”. They had no problems speaking up, or backing down if they were wrong.
Because of all these factors, they became very skilled aviators. They routinely had the highest bombing and gunnery scores in the squadron, and like I said, they NEVER bragged about how good they were. Their APTITUDE was beyond reproach, but being highly skilled and competent is only half of the equation.
Do you know what else it was that made them people of influence? Their ATTITUDE!
They had a genuine ATTITUDE about helping others become better, specifically me! They wanted me to do better on the gunnery range, to be a better bomb dropper, to become a better dogfighter, overall, they really wanted the best for me.
They always seemed to look out for my best interests. In turn, I trusted them, I wanted to be just like them, I’d do anything for them, I gave them 110% because of their ATTITUDE towards helping me do better.
Shouldn’t that be the attitude that we all have, to genuinely help others rise to a higher altitude; to be better overall, to achieve excellence?
YES!, But you know? We’ve heard leaders say, “I want my people to be successful, I help those who work for me, etc.”
Remember, it’s not what we say about ourselves, it’s what others perceive of us! Perceptions are reality. We’ve all heard people say one thing, but do something else. Every fighter pilot will tell you that he really wants his fellow fighter pilots to be better, but does he really?
Case in point, when we would fly to the controlled bombing/gunnery range, every bomb we dropped and every bullet we shot was scored and measured electronically (what gets measured gets done), the results of those individual scores – which measures our personal performance – are published in individual ranking order top to bottom, every week, for all to see. Individuals could see where they stood vs. everybody else.
Let’s say that because of your APTITUDE (skill, knowledge, experience), you consistently rank at the top of the list each week, and of course you are very proud to be at the top.
Your fellow fighter pilots see that your name is always at or near the top. So they seek you out, ask your advice, your help, to become better.
What is your ATTITUDE on sharing and helping? Are you really willing to HONESTLY give them your tips, tools, techniques, or methodologies in order help them rise to the top? To become better? Even if it means by doing so, they might surpass you on the top gun list?
Or will you say, “Sure I’ll help!”, and then secretly hold back just a little bit? Like having a fantastic recipe that everyone wants … Do you hold back a few critical ingredients, or do you give the entire recipe?
If we perceive that others have a genuine ATTITUDE in truly helping us as individuals rise to the top, to achieve excellence, then that becomes the norm of the squadron, which becomes the way it’s done around here.
The affect is synergistic. It’s what takes a squadron / company / business unit / organization from good to great!
Again, you do not have to be in a formal leadership or managerial position to have a genuine ATTITUDE to help others rise to your altitude and to pursue a higher degree of APTITUDE /skill at your job.
For each of us as “fighter pilots”, who work in high risk and sometimes dangerous work environments, the ability that we have to influence the work behaviors of others is a remarkable power to have. It’s a power that should never be taken lightly. It can be the difference between life and death for those we influence everyday!
Don’t require those that work around you to get lucky in order to fly / work another day!
We are our Brothers and sisters keepers; we all are people of influence.
Let’s agree to always keep three things in the back of our minds:
1) Acknowledge the power that we have to influence others.
2) Accept the responsibility of that power, and
3) Be accountable and responsible for the work results that comes from those whom we have influenced.