Minimizing Bad Attitudes at Work

Vladimir Gerasichev
General Director
Business Relations

When we encounter an employee with a bad attitude, the immediate response may be to fire him. But there are many circumstances and reasons in real life that might cause us to choose to interact with staff whose attitude to colleagues and to the work itself leaves much to be desired.

A “bad attitude” in an employee includes indifference, apathy, pessimism, rudeness, refusal to work as part of a team and failure to take the needs or requests of others into consideration. It leads to lateness, low motivation and poor performance, which affects the general attitude to work in the company.

What can be done?

First of all, we urge you to be honest and look at your own behavior. Is it important that you really change anything, or is this situation beneficial for your own reasons? Are you pretending that the problem is the employees that you work with? If you are ready to commit yourself to change the situation, then we propose the following steps.

1. Create a code of conduct. These are rules of interaction in the organization. They should be simple and understandable. For example: agree about honesty, being on time, being supportive and maintaining a positive attitude.

2. Set an example by sticking to this code yourself. The main thing is that if you break the rules do not pretend that you are always right. We are all human beings. Everyone sees what is important for you.

3. Express appreciation and gratitude when people keep the agreements and achieve results. Don’t skimp on this, and do not play at being a formal leader. Again, we are all people.

4. Don’t save up frustration. If you are not satisfied, say so immediately. If a person is late for 10 meetings, but you were silent in the previous 9, you do not need to discipline them based on your accumulated resent. Solve issues as they arise.

5. Do not make generalizations such as “you are never on time,” or “you have no initiative.” The person will remember times when they came on time or suggested something sensible a couple of times. Talk about specific points when they occur. Talk about the delay at the time of the delay, and do not sweep a breach of the agreement under the carpet.

6. Be neutral in conversation. Don’t wind people up, and don’t pick on subordinates. If you do so, you show weakness and give employees an opportunity to manipulate you. Postpone you meetings, walk, talk about something else, etc. Go back to the conversation calm, confident and with clear objectives. Leo Tolstoy said: “Stop talking as soon as you or someone with whom you are talking feels annoyed.”

7. Offer people a choice. Create an agreement. Do not force or push it on them. Don’t portray yourself as a controller or a terrible boss. Treat people as adults who know how to answer for their actions. Offer them a choice, and the rest is up to them.

These simple techniques will help you create a new situation and maintain it in your organization. Do not close your eyes to problems with the attitude of employees to work. Stick to all your agreements. Be an example to your employees so that they will understand that these agreements are important for you and that you require others to abide by them too. This will not give you a guarantee, but it will create a tremendous opportunity for a qualitatively new game in your organization. In any case you risk nothing: the worst that could happen is that everything will remain as is; the best is that you change people’s attitude to work and achieve new results.