Combat Bad Employee Attitudes in Your Workplace

CEDR ESS Two Minute Trainer For Employers

bad attitude at workplaceGossiping. Eye rolling in team meetings. Fighting your new programs. Complaining to everyone but management. You know the type.

The employee who has a strong sense of entitlement arising from being really good at the “hard” skills the position, but who lacks the skills to see how negativity undermines his or her performance and contributions to the team.

Attitude is one of the most difficult performance issues to address. Negativity often prevents the employee from being open to constructive criticism or seeing the need for change.  As a result, the bad behavior goes unchecked while resentments build and morale dwindles, or the employee gets fired.

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Sometimes termination is the best thing for the rest of the team, but it usually means considerable costs replacing and retraining for YOU. So, if you believe it’s worth your efforts to rehabilitate the employee, or just want to give them one last chance…

You CAN make your corrective coaching more effective and better received.  How? Expand your knowledge here.

  • Realize the impact. A bad attitude isn’t just a personality conflict. In the workplace, attitude distinguishes the winners from the losers. The team leader who motivates her people, the sales person who sells more, the hygienist who goes above and beyond caring for your patients are all terrific examples of how attitude can influence others and inspire success. While it’s tempting to avoid the problem employee like the plague, a negative attitude has the same, if not greater, power to influence.  However, a bad attitude has the power to sideline productivity, increase stress, dismantle teamwork, and cost you money.
  • Don’t just call it a negative attitude. Saying someone has a bad attitude doesn’t help the person understand what you expect from him or her.  Determine what it is that the person is doing that is unacceptable.   Here are some common ways a “bad attitude” infects your workplace:
    • Employee fails to build and maintain positive relationships with the team;
    • Employee communicates in ways that are disruptive or disrespectful;
    • Employee causes team members stress or uneasiness with his/her comments and actions;
    • Employee makes excessive complaints and derogatory remarks;
    • Employee fails to cooperate and/or help out other team members;
    • Employee is resistant to new programs or ideas before they have been given a chance to work;
  • Tell them the impact of their actions. Employees with bad attitudes often don’t get the impact of their not-so-subtle negativity.  Being clear about the impact of their behavior tends to get through a person’s defenses, as opposed to triggering them.  Most people don’t want to disrupt the entire office, but they don’t see that the real impact of their conduct is contrary to their intentions.  Here are some examples:
    • When you roll your eyes and cluck your teeth during our staff meetings, it is disruptive and disrespectful to the person speaking.
    • When you bring your personal issues to work, it makes others feel uncomfortable and distracts them from their job duties.
    • You are powerful here.  When you are happy, everyone is happy.  But when you are in a bad mood, the rest of the team is on eggshells.
  • Keep the coaching direct and constructive. It’s important to model the professionalism you expect from the employee.  As hard as it may be, don’t give in to their manipulations, name calling, or emotional responses.  The point is not to make them feel badly about their behavior, but to have a clear conversation where you bring the problem and its impact to their attention and set clear expectations for self-correction.  If they cry, give them a moment to compose themselves.  Your desired approach is calm, confident, and assertive.  Avoid sarcasm. And don’t put off the conversation.  The sooner you nip an attitude problem in the bud, the better.
  • Write it down. Like all corrective actions, it’s important to document the coaching session.  This step tends to be avoided because it’s difficult to be clear about these kinds of issues.  It’s easy to write “You were late on 3 occasions.”  It’s a bit harder to write about a lack of cheerfulness. Writing it will prepare you for the meeting.  If you need assistance, as always, call the Solution Center and we can draft the Corrective Action Notice for you.

That’s all for today!  Now go have a productive lawsuit free day!

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