It may be a cliché, but it's a good cliché - you need to lead by example. Good leaders exemplify what they expect from those whom they lead. As operators, your employees look to you for leadership. They feed off of your attitude and how you present yourself as the leader of the company.
So many times you hear the nightmare stories of employers with bad attitudes or the ones who bring their problems from home into the workplace. The frustrations and unpleasant attitudes are seen by all that come in contact with that employer. All of this has a negative effect on that employer's employees. Whether they want to or not, employees tend to mirror or at least display some of the same aspects of the owner.
Just think - since this is a service-based industry, if you as an operator are negative, then think about what kind of message this puts out about the business. Think about how your chauffeurs, your storefronts to clients, will be when they go out and interact with your customers.
The key is to lead by example. This holds true for personalities and attitudes. If you want your employees to feel positive and have a good attitude, then you must be positive and have a good attitude.
One good example of a leader who leads by having a positive attitude is Deena Papagni of A Touch of Class Limousine in Fresno, Calif. I called Deena the other day and, while talking with her, I commented on how upbeat and positive she sounded on the phone. She said that she had to be. She had to project a positive, friendly attitude to her employees. She said, "If I don't, who will?"
If you are operating a business, in the eyes of your employees you are the business. How they see you directly relates to how they see the business. Let's face it, with everything that's gone on over the past year, having a positive attitude may be a challenge. However, all signs are showing that things are starting to slowly but surely pick up. The fact that you've weathered the storm and are still in business should help give you the positive attitude that you need to show and share with your staff.