Pleasant People Are Productive People

Written by Joe Driscoll

November 24, 2009

“Be pleasant until 10 o’clock in the morning and the rest of the day will take care of itself.”

That sound advise is as true today as it was ninety years ago when it was first written by businessman and author Elbert Hubbard.

How do you react to the first crisis of the day? Reflect back on your good days and bad days. Doesn’t the reaction to that first crisis determine the tempo for the rest of the day?

There are days when making it to 10 o’clock in the morning can be an ambitious goal for some of us. On those days it’s a challenge to maintain a pleasant disposition until 8:15. If that’s the case, the objective should be to move the 8:15 to 8:30 and then to 9:00 and finally up to 10 o’clock.

When you get to ten, try for noon. The longer you can maintain a pleasant disposition, the better it will be for those around you. If you take good care of those around you, your business will take care of itself.

Andrew Carnegie was one of the great industrialists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He was an entrepreneur who began with nothing and made his fortune through hard work. His empire was not built through speculation, but rather steady effort, a keen eye for opportunity, and an ability to build an effective organization.

At the height of his success, Carnegie is credited with having said that if he was stripped of all his material resources, but left with his people, he could reestablish himself within four years. He understood that his organization was his business and that the organization was simply the people that worked for him. People were his greatest asset and he knew it.

What’s most important in your business? There’s a substantial body of thought that says if you take care of your people, everything else will take care of itself. Maintaining a positive, pleasant disposition is a good starting point. Regardless of your ability, nobody wants to work for a grouch.

If a manger concentrates on selecting, training, and providing a productive work environment for his or her people, everything else will take care of itself. If, on the other hand, a manager does everything else well in meeting the technical and operational aspects of the job and doesn’t do a good job of taking care of his or her people, that manager is in trouble. Successful management depends on the ability to get results through people.

“Being pleasant until 10 o’clock each morning” is an important step in taking good care of your people. A manager’s pleasant disposition contributes to a comfortable work environment. A comfortable work environment will translate into a more productive environment.

A pleasant and positive attitude will benefit you as well as those around you. There will always be problems. If there weren’t problems, we wouldn’t need managers. But an unpleasant disposition won’t solve anything. In fact, it just becomes one more problem that needs to be solved. Because an unpleasant disposition is contagious, it can often become more than just one additional problem!

There aren’t too many days when a manager doesn’t encounter a problem before 10 o’clock that might justify turning a good disposition bad. But a bad disposition won’t ease the burden, it will only make it worse. Everyone likes to work in a pleasant environment and a manager’s smile has the effect of creating a mirror image.

Its easy to be enthusiastic and to have a pleasant disposition when things are going well. It’s on those mornings when there are problems to be solved that a manager’s mettle is tested.

In the face of adversity, effective managers must be able to create a sense of urgency. In an effort to create that sense of urgency, some managers adopt an authoritative sternness that is often interpreted as an unpleasant disposition. Those are the days when people say, “be careful, the boss is in a bad mood today”.

A sense of urgency can be more constructively created with a positive, enthusiastic attitude. The ability to remain calm in the face of adversity is a quality to be admired. That ability will enable you to productively focus your human resource on the problem at hand without having created a separate agenda to distract their attention.

Because it’s your business, “be pleasant until 10 o’clock and the rest of the day will take care of itself”.

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