Attitudes are contagious, is yours worth catching?

My wife and I recently spent a few days in New York City, enjoying the sights and sounds of Manhattan from our Madison Avenue hotel, and eating and spending time touring Central Park. One night I was sitting on the window sill, with the window open, 15 stories up (probably not what a safety professional should be doing), and couldn’t help but notice the amount of honking that goes on.  I initially became aware of it during our ride into the city from the airport. However, while I was sitting on the ledge, I realized something. When one person honks, it encourages others to do the same.  It became contagious.  One honk led to another and then another, and before long, it was a musical nightmare of various horns reverberating from building to building. All day, all night, people honked at all hours of the day or night. Recognizing this issue, generated a few rhetorical questions:

  1. Do people honk just because it is New York City and that’s what they do?
  2. What would happen if automakers remove the horn from vehicles?  Would the people of New York City be able to function?
  3. Is using a horn in NYC effective?  Didn’t seem so. Our driver was never affected by the horn.  He just did what he was going to do.  However, he did use his often.

Whether good or bad, your attitude will influence others.

A person’s behavior doesn’t dictate their attitude, but their attitude can dictate their behavior.

Attitude is contagious. Our attitude will determine our success or failure and the success or failure of others.  Attitude is more important than anything else, it is more important than money than any of your circumstances than your failures or your successes. It is more important than your appearance, your talent, or your skill. Your attitude will make or break you, and it will determine your ability to succeed in anything you do.

Winston Churchill said, ”Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”

Change-Negative-Attitude-to-PositiveThere is a direct correlation between attitude and behaviors. A person’s behavior is affected by their attitude.  Specifically, a person may do what is required when they must. However, remove the “must” situation, and they do what they want? Our attitude has an effect on others. Just as when one person honks in NYC, we all honk, our attitude will be contagious to many.

In our quest to positively influence a person’s attitude and ultimately their behavior, we must understand what impact our attitude has to our personal leadership. Once we understand this, we can have a positive influence on the attitudes of others.

Remember these as you consider your influence through your attitude:

  • Our attitude is ALWAYS in play – Simply, our attitude has an effect on everything and everyone.
  • Attitudes can lift a person or tear them down – Chuck Swindoll said, “Life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react.”
  • Attitudes are contagious (good or bad)
  • Bad attitudes catch on and spread faster – Honking in NYC…
  • Identifying bad attitudes can be difficult – This is true, especially in ourselves.  We always justify our bad attitudes.
  • Rotten attitudes will ruin everything – Absolutely right! How many times have you gone into a meeting or had a conversation with another person when your attitude was horrible? It never ends well.

667fe4c3-4012-4050-a33b-b92682d6db17_lg-1Casey Stengel,  a successful manager of the New York Yankees, had a conversation with a rookie manager named, Billy He told Billy this, “There will be 15 players who will run through a wall of fire for you, 5 who will hate you, and 5 who are undecided. When you make out the rooming list, always room your losers together. Never room a good guy with a loser. Those losers who stay together will blame the manager for everything, but it won’t spread if you keep them isolated.”

Who will you influence with your attitude today?

TRANSFORMATIONAL INFLUENCE, The 6 B’s to Transforming People Lives

I want to introduce you to something very different. A thought process that takes

661dfa8d-eeab-44f2-8e8f-cb7ecabb9f79our daily interactions with others and uses it to influence the desired conscience or sub-conscience outcome.

We all have an influence on others. In fact, many of us don’t even realize the influence we have. I am reminded of a recent note I received from a young man who was a part of our Wednesday Night, “Kids Club” at our church. He was in the 1st grade when I first met him, and we stayed in contact until after high school.

A while back I received a note thanking me for steering him into the fire service. As a safety professional and former volunteer firefighter, I would always talk to kids about my profession and the passion I had for helping others. Throughout the years, we had many informal conversations. However, I never really expected or thought he was seriously paying attention. I definitely didn’t think I was influencing him. I just thought it was cool that he was interested.

Today, that 1st grader is Deputy Chief with a Fire Service in Northern Arizona.

You’ve heard the term, “Transformational Leadership.” This is a process of leading by example. Transformational leaders tend to use rapport, inspiration, or empathy to engage followers. They are known to possess courage, confidence, and the willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good.

The term “Transformational Influence” takes the leadership style of Transformation Leadership to a deeper level. A person who has transformational influence, not only builds rapport but through their desire to influence, they utilize their relationship to influence a person in conversation and direction. Everything we do, say and how we interact with people has the potential to influence. Transformational Influence is based on your relationship through conversation with those you desire to influence.

The relationship we have determines the trust they have in us. Realizing the impact of this will dramatically affect your leadership effectiveness.

Never more than today has success depended so much on the willing collaboration of others, and your ability to influence them beyond the existing results, conditions, and circumstances of their lives. All of that brings us to the inevitable conclusion that many people completely miss. The most important skill to master in leadership is the art and skill of influence.

Think about it for a moment. The ability to influence others isn’t a “nice to have” in life today – it’s absolutely essential.

If you have a healthy relationship with a person, you have an opening within their mind and heart that will allow them to listen and consider your influence.

So the obvious question is, “How does a person achieve transformational influence”? Here are six (6) ideas to consider when you desire to have transformational influence:

  1. Be genuine in your relationship – Focus on the individual’s needs and or desires. You can only do that by being sincerely involved and curious.
  2. Be truthful – Don’t “beat around the bush.” If you have something to say, say it! However, consider when, where and how you say it. And always be encouraging. But rather be open and honest with encouraging advice or direction.
  3. Be intentional – Go out of your way to get to know a person’s likes and dislikes. Understand what motivates them and cater your conversations to encourage and guide.
  4. Be a servant – Serve them with your whole heart. Make it a priority to help them succeed.
  5. Be humble – Realize that you will give bad advice. You will lead in the wrong way. However it can be a temporary setback, but be open and honest about your failures.
  6. Be significant in your impact  – Go out to make a difference, share your experience and how you were influenced by others.

Leadership chartYou have influence. Think about it. When you direct and instruct your kids, the conversations you have with your significant other and those at work or church. You never know who you’re influencing, so make sure you don’t waste the opportunity.


Follow the 6 B’s to Transformational Influence and watch people be transformed.


6 Ways To Add Value To Your Team

Business team shwoing thumbs upI don’t think there is ever an instance where one person is the team, or where one person is responsible for the success or failure of the team. Whether at work or within the family, I believe it always involves a team effort.

As I continue my leadership journey, identifying areas of improvement within myself and when coaching leaders, I am convinced success is always a team effort. Sure, there is always someone who leads the way, but I believe they are supported by the team who is like-minded and supportive of their ideas and efforts.

Experiencing what it really means to add value to a group, I have identified 6 ways to increase the value as a team member.

Here they are:

  1.  SUPPORT THE VISION – Support the vision and direction of the team leader or team itself.  You must be honest with your thoughts and ideas, but in the end be a verbal proponent of the team and the direction the team wants to head.
  2. RESPECT OTHERS – You must comply with the ideas and or concerns of others. Never just dismiss what others have to say or the direction they believe in.  But rather, listen to what they have to say and consider the overall impact it has on the team goal.
  3. BE PREPARED TO GO ABOVE AND BEYOND – Teams need members that are willing to go above and beyond.   You might have to do more, take more and work more.  Be prepared to give it your all to the success of the team.  Be a better planner.  Be a better goal and objective setter and by all means be prepared to hold yourself accountable!
  4. BE THE EXPERT – Great team members are informed by team members.  The best performing team is the most knowledgeable team.  What is our objective?  What do we want to accomplish? What is my role?  Remember, information is knowledge.  The more knowledgeable the Team is, the more likely they are to be successful.
  5. CELEBRATE SUCCESS – Most do not do this well. How often have you achieved a goal and there was no fanfare? No celebration?  It almost seemed success was expected.  Maybe so, however, I believe celebrating your successes (regardless of how small) is the key to future encouragement.  Honestly, don’t be afraid to tell others how much you appreciate their effort and help to accomplish the team’s goals and objectives.
  6. BE A GO TO PERSON –  People appreciate those they can go and talk to.  Individuals who can simply listen and those who convey confidence and support and who are viewed as discrete and trustworthy?  A person that you can bounce off ideas and concerns and know they will simply be heard.

Consider these when working with a team. Only small visions can be achieved without a team. However, one can achieve endless visions with active teams!

Creative Business Team Stacking Hands In Huddle


Side view of business people holding hands and walking through m

John Maxwell says, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.”

If leadership is influence, how does one influence? 

One of the best books for teaching practical influence is Dale Carnegie’s, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  This book provides the reader practical principles that lead to the efficient influencing of others.

I have read this book at least five times and use the information daily to increase my influence and validate my perspective on how I influence others. I wanted to share my version of Dale’s principles.

My principles for influence are:

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain – Instead, try to understand their position and what is causing you to criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation – Freely praise, recognize and appreciate the efforts, and accomplishments of others. People cherish your words and will keep them over a lifetime!
  3. Become genuinely interested in other people – If you want others to respect you, help you help yourself, and partner with you to achieve success, make this principle a part of your character.
  4. Smile – We send messages through our facial expressions. Smiling brightens the lives of all who see it.
  5. What’s in a Name? – Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Approaching any situation using a person’s name will reduce negativity, increase your influence and add validity to the words you say.
  6. Be a good listener – Encourage others to talk about themselves. Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are about you and your problems.
  7. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest – Talking in terms of the other person’s interest keeps them engaged and pays off for both parties.
  8. Make the other person feel important, and be sincere – Talk to people about themselves, and they will listen for hours.
  9. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it – All arguments do is show the arrogance in your pride and a lack of humility.
  10. Show respect for the other person’s opinion – Never say “you’re wrong.” Instead, use diplomacy.
  11. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically – Remember the old proverb, “by fighting you never get enough, but by yielding, you get more than you expected.”
  12. Begin in a friendly way – Remember what Lincoln said: “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  13. Who cares where the idea came from – Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers. Influence is achieved by teamwork, not arrogance.influence others
  14. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view – An increased tendency to always think regarding the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own.
  15. Challenge the Person -Every successful person wants a chance of self-expression, the opportunity to prove one’s worth.
  16. Begin with praise and honest appreciation – The first 30 seconds of any conversation should include praise, gratitude or thankfulness or general good will. Open every email or correspondence with the same thoughts.
  17. Call attention to peoples mistakes indirectly – Learn how to point out errors and opportunities for improvement by encouraging the person, rather than discouraging them. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  18. Ask questions, instead of giving direct orders – Information informs, questions transform! All direct orders do is create resistance between the giver and receiver.
  19. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to – Help the other person to succeed. Be aware of their faults and coach them to success.

Apply these 20 principles and begin to see your influence increase and your leadership of others grow.


What Message Are You Sending? 8 Principles for Sending Effective Text- Part 3 of 3

Here are seven (8) texting principles I found to be very helpful:Fotosearch_k26085789

  1. Be careful with abbreviations. Texting is meant to be a fast form of communication, so we tend to use abbreviations and shortcuts such as “np” (no problem) or “u” (you). But there is such a thing as an inappropriate abbreviation and acronym.
  2. Watch your tone. Texting is a fast and easy. Make sure you use words that set your intended, not perceived tone.
  3. Never send bad news via text. I had a CEO fire two VP’s via text. I was shocked. Guess he was scared of them. Keep texting positive or neutral.
  4. Don’t change meeting times or venues in a text.  However, you can confirm meeting times or places through text.
  5. Double check when using the voice-to-text feature.  The translation can be tricky.
  6. Don’t text during a meeting or presentation. This action is just rude!  Even if you are doing it under the table or behind a book, the presenter can tell.  As a speaker and trainer, it offends me when I see people looking at their phones.
  7. Darn, autocorrect!  This feature bites me often. Watch the auto correct feature.  An excellent way to fix this is to READ your text before you hit send.
  8. Don’t text and drive – This is a killer. 35% of all vehicle fatalities involve texting and driving. Even people who text and drive, hate people who text and drive.

textingBy following these simple rules and abiding by proper etiquette, mastering the ability to craft and send valid emails and text can be easy.   I crafted this blog, not only because of my shortcomings but also my frustrations.

How we respond to emails and text can result in positive or negative consequences and determine our influence on others. Spend the effort and time to make sure your texts and emails reflect your intended message.

What Message Are You Sending? PART 2 of 3 – 11 Rules and Etiquette for Crafting and Sending Effective Emails


The way you craft or respond to an email determines the effectiveness of your words. That drives the intended outcome and creates the influence you desire.

When replying to emails, consider these ten (11) suggestions:

  1. Organize your words and paragraphs to make it easy for readers to follow and understand.
  2. Reflect on the email content before replying. Your leadership effectiveness is reflected in your response.
  3. Don’t automatically hit “Reply All.”  This should only be used when needed and with extreme caution.  You should only use “Reply All” when everyone on the “TO” list requires your response.  Most of the time, it is sufficient to only respond to the person who sent the email.
  4. Be Careful with the “Bcc.” The “Bcc:” option allows you to “blind carbon copy” someone on an email without any of the other recipients knowing. It can be useful in some cases when you wish to keep email addresses private.
  5. Avoid Cursing. Cursing in an email is just wrong. Don’t do it. Swearing in an email comes off as being ignorant or showing a lacking intelligence.
  6. Use proper grammar.  Don’t write like you speak. Remember, emails are forwarded all the time.
  7. Respond Regardless. Everyone would deserve a response, even if the email were mistakenly sent to you.  A simple, “I got your email,” or “I think this was addressed to me by mistake” will let the sender know you got the message.
  8. Be leery of tone. Each person interprets email tone differently.  A well-written email can easily be interpreted as a negative with the use of various words.  Many people use all caps. Doing this implies YOUR YELLING AT SOMEONE.
  9. Don’t Be Cute There is no room for cuteness or EMOJI’s, inappropriate pictures, etc.
  10. Include a professional signature. Include; your full name, title, work address and phone number.  When using a quote or image, be careful that it does not offend.
  11. Read it, then reread it. Read and re-read your email. Make sure your grammar, spelling, and choice of words portray the intended tone and message.

What Message Are You Sending? PART 1 of 3 – 10 Rules and Etiquette for Crafting and Sending Effective Emails

email 2You’ve been there.  You get an email accusing you of some action or lack of action. The tone is rude and inappropriate.  The sender includes several people, many who have no reason to be involved. As you read what is written, the words spark enraged anger from deep within your soul.

You immediately react by hitting “Reply All.”  In fact, you want to vindicate yourself, so you “Bcc” your supervisor. Through your rage, you unleash a barrage of words that support your position.

Immediately, after hitting the send button, you receive a text from your boss.  Yes!  He wants to congratulate you on an excellent response!  Only when you open the text, it says “meet me in my office first thing in the morning.”

Emails and texting, perceived in the wrong way, can lessen or eliminate the influence email-logoyou have with your staff or groups. The relationships you spent months or maybe years to build and foster are now in jeopardy.

Email and texting should never be a substitute for face to face communication or phone conversation. However, if crafted properly, these can be useful in reinforcing your ideas and increasing your influence.

In part 1 of my 3 part series, I provide 10 rules and etiquette for crafting and sending using emails.

I find these very useful and productive to lessen the chance of responding in a destructive or unprofessional manner.


When preparing or an email consider the following 10 suggestions:

  1. First, consider a face-to-face or phone call before sending an email. 
  2. Send the email to those that absolutely need to know.  
  3.  “CC” people for information only.  “CC” responses should only be sent if the data reinforce or add additional pertinent information.
  4. Make sure the “subject” accurately depicts the content.
  5. Content must be specifically related to your “TO” group. Be precise, concise, and clear.
  6. Begin the email with a positive statement. Sets the tone for the responses.
  7. Continued disagreement or confusion, set up an in person meeting, conference call or video chat.
  8. READ IT BEFORE YOU HIT SEND AND THEN READ IT AGAIN. Read and re-read your email.  Make sure your grammar, spelling, and choice of words portray the intended tone and message.
  9. Emails should NEVER be used to reprimand, counsel or address disagreements. 
  10. When in doubt…….have a face-to-face conversation.

Real Integrity


I was talking with a group of people the other day when one of them began talking about how much integrity they had and how they strive to do the right thing always. That statement caught me by surprise because I know this person and have had many discussions concerning their lack of integrity. It made me realize two things.

  1. If you have to tell someone you have integrity, you probably don’t.
  2. Authentic integrity is built within a person’s character through their actions.

Genuine integrity is the foundation of a person’s credibility. Credibility creates confidence, and that confidence allows influence.

“Integrity is what we do, what we say, and what we say we do” – Don Gater.

Someone once said,

“You are already of consequence in the world if you are known as a man of strict integrity”.

That’s how essential integrity is in your personal life. In fact, if you have nothing else, authentic integrity will catapult you past everyone else.

Dwight Eisenhower said, “The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible.”

I agree with Eisenhower. I cannot emphasize enough about the importance of having genuine integrity if you want real leadership in your life.

Integrity gives you so much credibility, trust, confidence, influence and much more.

Be a person of integrity and be a person who people want to follow.

10 Actions To Increase Your Influence With Others

Want to be influential? Do these 10 things.

  1. ENCOURAGE – Start every conversation with something positive about the person or group you are addressing within the first 30 seconds. People are motivated by encouraging words.
  2. UNDERSTAND YOURSELF – When I think about what needs to happen or take place, I reflect on how my actions, my conversations, and my vision will affect others. I’ve realized that my performance is a direct reflection of my leadership.
  3. KNOW WHAT OTHERS GO THROUGH- Understand the trials and troubles others go through by being a part of their day. Good leaders become someone who listens to their people, not to reply, but to understand. Get in tune and know the people you lead and you will increase your influence.
  4. REALIZE EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT – They understand Good Leaders Ask Great Questions (read this book from John Maxwell). The right questions will uncover a person’s interests and what motivates them. I think it is important to connect by finding common ground and nurturing relationships.
  5. HELP OTHERS – I have learned when we are first to offer assistance and aid, we begin connecting in such a way that our relationship allows us to influence. Zig Ziglar said, “You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
  6. ADD VALUE – Add value by finding out what is important to those you lead. The value will look different in every situation. A good leader will ask great questions to identify what value looks like.
  7. SHARE STORIES AND EXAMPLES – As a speaker, I’ve learned the importance of sharing good relevant stories. As a leader and professional, I’ve recognized the importance and effectiveness of sharing good stories with those I influence. People want to see the human side of leaders. I believe stories create a sense of belonging and connect us through life’s similarities.
  8. NO STRINGS ATTACHED – Christopher Reeve said: “Success is finding satisfaction in giving a little more than you take.” When we give without any strings attached, we will benefit professionally and personally and professionally.
  9. REMEMBER NAMES -Learn the names of those you meet and associate with. Few sounds are as sweet to a person as hearing their spoken name, few sounds are as irritating when you refer to someone by the wrong name. Remembering names, shows you value them.
  10. ACKNOWLEDGE STRENGTHS – I think one of the best ways to gain influence is to recognize a person’s strengths. Areas of their personality or employment that seems to tie them well to the organization. In fact, they will want to “Exceed Expectations,” not just meet them.

InfluenceWe all have influence, big and small. We all have things we are gifted or talented. Things we leverage by adding value to others. Whether it is our attitude, problem-solving skills or simply just our ability to laugh, we should be sharing our knowledge, experience, and influence. Employees respond to influence. We should work hard to increase our influence by adding real value every day. Do this, and you will improve your leadership. You’ve heard it before, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.” People respond to influence. We must work to increase our influence by adding value every day. Do this, and you will increase your leadership. You’ve heard it before, “Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less.”

We must work to increase our influence by adding value every day. Do this, and you will increase your leadership. To lead others, you must influence! Do these 10 actions regularly, and watch your influence grow!