Attitude makes a difference

November 25, 2019

Maxim No. 5: The key characteristics to look for when selecting people are a winning attitude and a strong work ethic.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but when I joined the Texas Children’s family in January of 2004, I embarked on a career- and life-changing journey. The journey has been full of growth, opportunities, and yes, some stumbles, every one of which have taught me valuable lessons. Throughout it all, I’ve realized that Texas Children’s’ core values apply not just to Shannon the nurse, but also to Shannon the person. You see, one of the things that makes Texas Children’s so special are the values so many of us personally believe in our hearts and demonstrate in our personal lives. I believe many of our 15,000+ employees are connected to Texas Children’s so deeply because the organization selects team members with a winning attitude and strong work ethic, abiding by Mr. Wallace’s Maxim No. 5: The key characteristics to look for when selecting people are a winning attitude and strong work ethic.

Recently, my leader, Gail Parazynski, was talking to a group of team members and one of the things she said really stuck with me – “We don’t expect people to be perfect.” What a refreshing thing to hear from your leader! At Texas Children’s, we know perfection is unrealistic. We do, however, expect people to show up ready to give their very best. We know that when people are doing their best and are focused on common goals and outcomes, outstanding results will follow. For us, those results are paramount because they optimize health for the children, women, and families we serve.

About eleven years ago, I had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Wallace. At the time, I was a manager in the pediatric intensive care unit and was just discovering who I was as a leader. We talked about several things and I saw a little glimpse into his leadership philosophies. At the end of our meeting, Mr. Wallace told me “attitude makes a difference!” It resonated with me because I had always considered myself a “glass half full” person. As I’ve grown and evolved as a leader, that statement still stands out. A winning attitude can inspire, motivate, and comfort those you lead.

Mr. Wallace’s blogs showcase some wonderful examples of our One Amazing Team. As I look around me each day, I see those examples too. I hope you will take a moment to look around you and recognize your colleagues who are demonstrating a winning attitude and/or a strong work ethic – these characteristics not only make an amazing difference for our patients and families, but also for each other.

I’d like to hear from you … what key characteristics do you think makes someone a good leader and why?


Take the leadership challenge, and score a spot at a Houston Texans event!

Over the next few weeks, Mark Wallace’s blog will feature guest bloggers who share how Mr. Wallace’s Leadership Maxims apply to them and their roles at Texas Children’s. Each blog post will pose a leadership question that you may respond to in the comments section.Throughout November, the Corporate Communications team will randomly select 100 people from the comments to attend a private event with the Houston Texans, including a behind-the-scenes tour of NRG Stadium, an autograph session with two Houston Texans football players and photos with Texans cheerleaders. The event will be held on Tuesday, December 3.

45 Responses to “Attitude makes a difference”

    • Roma Frier

      Although I have never worked for or with Shannon, I have had the pleasure of having some interactions with her that have been nothing but positive. Her philosophy on leadership embodies what I feel leadership is all about. My work ethic and integrity are everything to me. I absolutely love what I do and hope that I can continue to portray these same traits that Shannon embodies and teaches! I love Texas Childrens and what it stands for! Beautifully written Shannon!

  1. DK Lovick

    I love how Shannon expresses that this is a journey; and great leaders do have the opportunity to make it “life-changing” for others. Excellence is not a point in time, or a mark we arrive at, it is the never ending pursuit of “better than our greatest day ever”. Shannon has always been above all else, kind to others and shares her optimisms wherever she goes!

  2. Rhonda Lanclos

    Shannon , great article! The thing about “attitude ” in approaching complex problems and difficult situations is you can choose the impacting positive one, being a nurse at TCH has taught me that. Our patients deserve the winning compassionate perspective to make those big differences in their and our lives.

  3. Sally Rodriguez

    I was lucky to have Shannon as my leader for many years! My favorite characteristics of Shannon as a leader are: she always has a smile on her face, she radiates positivity, and she’s supportive during the great times and the difficult times.

  4. Lisa Davenport

    Shannon is a shining example of what a good leader looks like. Every opportunity I get to work with Shannon she always has a positive, can do attitude and a beautiful smile. I strive to be be the kind of leader that Shannon is.
    A good leader is a servant leader, someone not afraid to get in the trenches and work side by side with their people. Through servant leadership you can learn so much about your staff and their needs to be successful.

  5. Ken Javier

    Thanks Shannon for sharing your story and for always being a great clinical partner with the Facilities Operations department! I recall working with your team when PICU was still on West Tower 3. Space certainly was a constraint at the time, which could have resulted in slowing down of floor project work from Environmental Services team. Your “can do” and “glass half full” attitude resulted in a flexible schedule that allowed EVS to gain clear access to perform floor care projects. You embody the characteristics of great leaders with your ability to communicate effectively in a positive way. I appreciate your partnership to find solutions as a team.

  6. A positive attitude always make a difference and is contagious. If a leader is always negative about everything in the office, the staff will have the same attitude. Things are not always going to run smoothly at work. With everyone working as a team and willing to do what it takes, the office environment creates a place where employees want to work.

  7. Jason Raper

    In response to your question about the characteristics of a good leader, I am reminded of a quote that I resonate deeply with. “Leadership is not about being in charge, but rather taking care of the ones in your charge.”-Simon Sinek.

  8. Nick Matthews

    Great blog, Shannon. I have always appreciated your great attitude. You always seem to have a smile on your face and that is contagious. Thanks for leading by example. John Maxwell says, “attitude determines altitude.” If we want to excel in life and work, attitude is everything! Thanks, Shannon.

  9. Great article Shannon! In answer to the question of what characteristic that I think makes someone a good leader… listening. Listen to your teams concerns, and also listen to their suggestions for improvement. It’s so easy to give an answer to what you feel that you are hearing– but take a moment to listen and ask questions for clarification.

  10. Deborah Parrott

    Thanks for sharing a great post! Your leadership shines through in your words. One extra thing I would add to “a winning attitude and strong work ethic” is a compassionate spirit. Kindness goes a long way. This triad forms a great foundation. Thanks again for sharing and all that you do for our patients and our team!

  11. This Maxim is spot on, attitude absolutely matters! A leader with a positive attitude can confront a challenge and rally those around them to overcome it…what better way to take a potentially bad day and turn it around for everyone? According to a recent Forbes article and survey by the Edelman Trust Barometer, about a third of employees distrust their management. A THIRD!?! I find this so alarming! This illustrates how important honesty and transparency are in leadership roles. It is paramount for a leader to be trusted in order for others to feel inspired to follow. I think it takes great humility and a great leader to be honest, even when it’s unpopular.

  12. Lindsey Franks

    Love this! Attitude does make all the difference. People put off positive energy or negative energy, and its contagious to others. You can change your day, as well as the day of others by having the right attitude. We don’t have to be perfect, but we do have to have the right attitude about working, learning, and growing. I always like to say have an attitude of gratitude!

  13. Brittany Turner

    Thank you for your strong and supportive leadership, Shannon! You are definitely someone who inspired me to become a leader at Texas Children’s. I am so thankful to be apart of the PICU team and it is definitely a place I call home. PICU is not always the easiest place to work, there are good days and there are challenging days (and you are always right there with a smile on your face ready to fix the problem!!). With that challenge comes the drive to want to continue to motivate and support the staff. Key characteristics of a good leader are someone who can empower and engage their staff no matter the situation. Engagement builds long lasting trust and the best outcomes. I appreciate your engagement and positive attitude with us in the PICU! It keeps us going everyday!

  14. Brittany Turner

    Thank you for your strong and supportive leadership, Shannon! You are definitely someone who inspired me to become a leader at Texas Children’s. I am so thankful to be a part of the PICU team and it is definitely a place I call home. PICU is not always the easiest place to work, there are good days and there are challenging days (and you are always right there with a smile on your face ready to fix the problem!!). With that challenge comes the drive to want to continue to motivate and support the staff. Key characteristics of a good leader are someone who can empower and engage their staff no matter the situation. Engagement builds long lasting trust and the best outcomes. I appreciate your engagement and positive attitude with us in the PICU! It keeps us going every day!

  15. Jessica Albe

    Great article Shannon! I’m not surprised to see you writing on here because you are a great example of what a leader should be like. I was very fortunate to have you as a leader for several years. As far as what characteristics make up a great leader, I would say someone who possesses passion for their job, is empathetic with their team members, and exudes a positive attitude.

  16. Roma Frier

    Beautifully written Shannon. Although I have only had a few short interactions with you in person and by phone, they have always been positive! I appreciate the way you embody TCH as a leader. Your leadership philosophy is why you will continue to do great things! For me work ethic and attitude is everything! I love Texas Children’s and everything this institution stands for.

  17. Julia Gaffney

    Shannon, I couldn’t agree with you more. Attitude definitely makes a difference! Not only at work but all around with every interaction.

    To me, the top five characteristics of a good leader are the following:
    Honesty
    Confidence
    Commitment
    Positive attitude
    Creativity

    I chose the above characteristics because I feel these are key to make you an all-around good person.

  18. Mary Ann Callejo

    I am so proud of you, Shannon! I still remember the night you submitted your application as a manager and look where you’re at now! You have done many wonderful things at TCH. I agree…attitude is everything!

  19. Kabby Thompson

    Your attitude and your leadership deliver a powerful message to your team and our patient families. Shannon helps to make Texas Children’s a leader in every way by her shining example.

  20. Emily Ybarra Curry

    I think the qualities of humility, vision, and attitude make a great leader.

    A great leader is someone who can recognize their own limitations and leverage their team to push through. A great leader does not let their ego get in the way of collaboration and supports their team to be the best, even when circumstances may not be perfect.

    A great leader also has a high level of communication skills–where they can both inspire and clearly articulate their vision and strategy. I also think a great leader is someone who will get in the trenches and is not above any “task” or “job”–they are the first one to help the team in a bind and demonstrate passion for other employees and the members and patients we serve.

    Thank you for sharing your leadership journey!

  21. Katharine Beekman

    What a great message and reminder to all of us. It makes sense that that’s Mr. Wallace’s saying about attitude. Every time I see him in the hallway or elevator he has a smile on his face.

  22. Mindy Carroll

    Fantastic article! Really great reminder to what being a leader really means. I think what makes a great leader is someone who has integrity, someone who truly listens to their employees and responds in an appropriate manner. I think a leader is someone who creates a helpful environment for their employees and is someone who the employees can lean on and trust.

  23. Priscila Reid

    Shannon, your article gives light to the important aspects of leadership and what a glowing example of a leader you are! You are definitely a glass half full! Since your arrival to Texas Children’s many years ago, you retain that positive attitude and motivation which continue to inspire others to do the same. Never loose that warm, infectious smile! Beautiful article!

  24. Rebecca stegman

    My energy, and other peoples energy, has a giant effect on not only my attitude, but other peoples attitude I surround myself with. Those who look at daily challenges negatively will not provide positive fuel to others, but surrounding yourself with positive energy from other creates fuel to look at challenging circumstances differently. It provides the right type of positivity for you to look at the challenge that you face, and find an opportunity for you and your team to get better, reassess, and find a way through the challenging situation. In a healthcare setting positive energy creates a better healing environment not only for our patient, but also our team.

  25. Rebecca stegman

    Great blog! Leadership at home versus work are very different, but do have some similarities. My children along with my coworkers want to be heard, validated, and also be shown compassion. I may have different leadership approaches depending on where I am at the moment, but I believe the core values of good leadership is being a good listener and having a good understanding what that person is going through, and show compassion

  26. Kathleen Wood

    I agree with all of the above; what a great, well written article. Shannon, I see you displaying this in your every day life and it inspires all of us to be better.

    I firmly believe in hiring for attitude, and training for success. If you have a great attitude and an ability to learn, the sky is the limit for your potential.

  27. Kathleen Wood

    I agree with all of the above; what a great, well written article. Shannon, I see you displaying this in your every day life and it inspires all of us to be better.

    I firmly believe in hiring for attitude, and training for success. If you have a great attitude and an ability to learn, the sky is the limit for your potential.

  28. Jason Nguyen

    Great article Shannon! Attitude can really make a big difference in leadership! Having someone that can inspire others through their own work ethic and humility can have a major positive response in the actions of their team.

  29. What an inspiring article!

    A great leader is one that is able to inspire others to work together as a team during tough times. One that motivates others to keep their heads high and attitudes up during stressful situations. One that listens and acknowledges your concerns even if it’s trivial. One that is present on the floor and checks in on everyone during busy days at work.

  30. Lori Ramirez

    Great message from my first ever Nurse Manager, Shannon Holland! I remember when I interviewed as a new graduate RN, a reason I chose to begin my nursing career in the PICU at TCH many years ago was because of your positive and energetic attitude!

    A great leader, to me, is one that exemplifies kindness in the face of challenge. I like Richard Branson’s quote that relates to leadership, “Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”

  31. Mariano Nunez

    Great viewpoint on leadership, attitude definitely makes a difference! Thank you Shannon for all your hard work!!

    The most important characteristics I see shared among great leaders are:

    Giving vision, meaning, direction and focus

    Proud to see Mark and the Texas Children’s Hospital family practicing this and inspiring other to do the same across the entire organization.

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