Attitude and Interpersonal Competence

Anthony Balderrama wrote a great article on called “What Is Your Attitude Toward Work?”  He identified four work attitudes that do not lend themselves to helping you become known as an interpersonally competent person. 

Interpersonal competence is one of the five keys to personal and professional success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to do three things: 1) get to know yourself, use this knowledge to better understand others; 2) build solid, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the people in your life; and 3) learn how to resolve conflict positively.

The following attitudes are not the way to become known as interpersonally competent…

  • The Runway Model – These people act like they’re on the runway; flashbulbs are popping, people are straining to see them, but come across as unaware of all the fuss, emotionally detached and numb.  Anthony says, “A numb approach to work raises questions about your performance.  Do you care about your job?  Do you know what you’re doing?  How long will you stick around?  Does anyone want to interact with you?
  • The Emotional Teenager – Teenagers are high drama.  As Anthony says, “A bad day when you’re 15 years old isn’t just a bad day; it’s the worst day anyone has ever experience in the history of human existence.”  Some people aren’t that different at work.  They just can’t get things into perspective.  “Yes, some jobs are nightmares incarnate, but no job is nirvana, either.”  He advises that you need to be “able to draw a distinction between a bad day and a bad situation.”  You get through bad days.  It’s best to leave bad situations.
  • Polyanna – Polyanna is a children’s book about a girl who is intensely focused on the positive – kind of like the old joke about a boy who is excited when he gets a large pile of manure for Christmas and says, “there must be a pony underneath this big pile of sh_t!”  If you read this blog, you know that I am a big believer in the power of optimism.  However, optimism needs to be tempered with realism.  Unfortunately, sometimes a pile of sh_t is just a pile of sh_t.  By the way, I still have copies of The Optimist Creed to give away.  If you want one, send an e mail to with the words “Optimist Creed” in the subject line.
  • The Transient – Successful people commit to their jobs and careers.  They like to work with others who are similarly committed.  Transients don’t fit in well.  Anthony says that people who never seem to set their bag down are very distracting colleagues.  I agree.  A one foot in, one foot out mindset might result in your boss and co-workers questioning your commitment. Look for all of the things that your job has to offer.  “Accept the fact that you can see yourself in that position a year or two from now.

The common sense point here is simple.  You attitude at work counts for a lot; and as Anthony Balderrama says, it “can impact your career more than you realize.”   When you are looking for a job, hold out until you can find one you can love.  Once you’re there, do what you can to make it a positive experience.  If you find that the thought of going to work fills you with dread, or that you really hate your job, look for a new one. When you’re happy with your job, it will be reflected in your attitude.  The same is true when you’re unhappy – only more so.  Successful, interpersonally competent people have a good attitude.  It’s easier to have a good attitude when you’re happy with your job.

That’s my take on the importance of your attitude toward your job and interpersonal competence.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  I really appreciate all of your comments.  As always, you have my most humble thanks for reading.


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