WHETHER you are starting a new career or are trying to improve your performance in your current job, assess your attitude towards work.

Ask how it will contribute towards your career and how it will add value to your role as a career builder.

One of the most common reasons employers let someone go from a job is the person’s poor work attitude.

Your attitude not only affects your job performance, but also the performance of other people as well — for better or worse.

The first step towards having the right attitude is to define success in your own terms.

Determine what you can be good at rather than worry about whether you colleagues are better than you. You will spend your time in needless rivalry or in office politics when your efforts can be spent on building up your competency in a particular area.

Developing discipline is another requisite to fostering a positive attitude in the workplace. Successful people are disciplined people. Today’s preparation determines tomorrow’s achievement.

Negative attitudes disrupt teamwork, increase stress and cripple productivity. In the workplace, the big difference between the winners and the losers is their attitude to work and their disciplined approach to every task they do.

A positive attitude towards work in particular and life in general will stand you in good stead, especially in a recession when many people are afraid of losing their jobs.

Here are some additional tips to foster esprit de corps in the office, impress colleagues with your leadership skills and manage your career at the same time:

1. Go the extra mile

Do not give your employer any reason to fire you.

Strive to prove your worth. Volunteer for jobs that other people are reluctant to do because they appear difficult, and do them with enthusiasm. Always perform your work to a higher level than expected. If you only perform to expected levels, you will not stand out.

2. Be a cheerleader

Show some leadership by initiating a little cheerleading mission to boost the morale of your colleagues.

Organise fun, team-building activities which help to bring team members closer. The happier people are, the more productive they are going to be.

3. Celebrate small things

You and your co-workers should continue with the activities that maintain your rapport.

Throw a potluck dinner, continue your Friday night drinks and your barbecue parties. This is the time to stick together.

4. Stay healthy

Maintain your health so that you can handle stress and have higher energy levels.

Meditate daily. Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed, and sit in a comfortable position. Clear your mind and focus on a mantra or on your breath. Meditation is a great way to relieve stress.

5. Look at your options

Even with all your efforts, there is no guarantee that you will not lose your job.

As a back-up plan, do some discreet job-hunting. Having an option will lessen the stress of being laid off. Make sure you are discreet. It will not look good if your current employer discovers that you are thinking of jumping ship.

A positive attitude, discipline and a pragmatic approach to managing your career are key ingredients to survive and thrive in tough economic conditions.