It’s hard to fly with turkeys

Dear Joan:
About a year ago, I joined a very good company and am finally doing what I've always dreamed of doing. There is a great income potential, opportunity to meet interesting people, educational opportunities, etc.

The only problem is that I'm working with many people who have been with the company for a long time and are tired of it and its problems. They may be burned out. However, I'm enthusiastic and don't need to be pulled down constantly. How does one keep his enthusiasm high and maybe even hope that it can rub off on those around him?

How can I soar like an eagle while surrounded by turkeys?

Don't fly low. If you join this grounded flock, they could prevent you from attaining the heights you're capable of.

These turkeys are probably going to try and peck you into their tired, hopeless philosophy. A sleek new bird in the roost may make them a little edgy.

Your fresh enthusiasm could make them feel guilty for letting their own enthusiasm fly the coop.
It sounds as if your income depends on personal initiative and drive. Perhaps these turkeys are content with chicken fee. If you are doing what you've "always dreamed of doing," it will feel much less like work and more like fun. Your enthusiasm is money in the bank.

Your fresh ideas for stale problems increases your value to the company. Unfortunately, any brilliance on your behalf may make the old birds look bad. Don't strut and preen. Instead, try to be pleasant, listen to them and learn from them. They carry the verbal history you will need to understand and tackle current problems.

When someone begins to cluck about the longstanding problem, tune in to the facts - not his or her negative attitude. Ask questions that get at the substance of the issue. Don't reinforce their negativity by commiserating or empathizing. Simply ignore it. Once the clucking stops and the thinking begins, the old bird may realize he or she isn't making a scratch in the problem by complaining.

Look at problems as opportunities and challenges to be tackled. When your ideas are met with, "We've tried that," "Yes, but..." "That will never work," don't push. Readjust your attitude and flight pattern. Ask for reasons, list the negatives and then look for ways to minimize or eliminate those negatives. Who knows? You may be able to see a solution from your fresh perspective.

Look for positives and communicate them when you find them. Thank people in writing and send a copy to their boss. Share stories about the qualities your company has that others you worked for lacked. Seek out another positive thinker and fire up one another's enthusiasm. Set high goals and fly toward them with a vengeance. Make sure the right people are aware of your contributions.

Lastly, your job includes "opportunities to meet interesting people." Take advantage of this and use it to stay invigorated.

Spread your wings and fly.

Joan Lloyd is a Milwaukee based executive coach and organizational & leadership development strategist. She is known for her ability to help leaders and their teams achieve measurable, lasting improvements. Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding, providing: executive coaching, CEO coaching & leader team coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, retreat facilitation and presentation skill coaching and small group labs. Contact Joan Lloyd & Associates at (414) 573-1616,, or 
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