How a 'yes' attitude will get you hired and promoted | Women's Agenda

How a ‘yes’ attitude will get you hired and promoted

I admit that there is a pattern to my talent identification and hiring. I discriminate against people who lean back, complain about their lot and display all the characteristics of glass-half-empty people.

I’m convinced it’s why I generally get it right. Of all the skills I have developed as a manager over the years, the one that has often made the difference between the business starting and stalling is my keen eye for key people.

It is quite possible that I am allergic to negative people, such is the extreme reaction that I have to them. When I work with or interview people who I would describe as lean-in – because they lean forward enthusiastically when you speak to them – I want to promote them or hire them. Team members with a yes attitude are infectious and I find that others in the team gravitate towards them.

Yes-attitude people behave as follows:

  • When asked to consider a new idea, they say they will gladly investigate it. And then they enthusiastically do.
  • They ask questions in order to gather information to reach the desired solution.
  • They come back with an alternate solution if the original idea won’t work.
  • They join in to help the team reach the company’s goals.
  • They greet people in the morning, join in office social events and generally appear positive and approachable.


No-attitude people do the following:

  • When asked to consider a new idea, they appear negative and reluctant to consider it.
  • If urged to consider it, they say they will and then do nothing.
  • They may ask questions, but only to demonstrate what a bad idea it is.
  • They never come back with a solution.
  • They keep information to themselves – as knowledge is power – and wouldn’t consider rolling up their sleeves and pitching in to help the team reach their goals.
  • They are generally unfriendly to all but a select few in the office.


Team members with a no attitude create a toxic environment and can do an enormous amount of harm to the organisational culture. It’s the reason an impressive CV alone isn’t enough. I have appointed team leaders without the traditional employment history if they lean in and show me a spark. There is nothing more rewarding as a manager than watching a positive culture take off through the workplace like wildfire due to the replacement of no-attitude people with lean-in, yes-attitude people.

Have you seen the same in your workplace?


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