Sunday, March 30, 2008

Attitude Problems are Confidence Problems

Employee attitude problems: a dangerous, treachorous and complicated area to address...

If you talk with someone about his or her "attitude", the immediate assumption is that the attitude is bad and it doesn't take much to take an "attitude problem" personally. This will result in an almost immediate and automatic defensive posture from the person to whom you are speaking.

Those who practice Contagious Leadership respond in reasonable ways to even unreasonable situations and in the case of attitude, it may be an unreasonable situation, but you still must consider a reasonable solution. Approach the person with the following example dialogue:

"John, can you come by my office before you go? I have some good stuff I want to share with you."

When he arrives...

"I've noticed some improvement in __________ area of your work. Thank you for your efforts. I have also noticed a decrease in your (interest level, professional conduct, appropriate communication with your co-workers - as examples). This is something that I think we can address pretty easily and I have a few questions for you. Are you willing to talk about this with me?"

If the answer is no... explain that the item you are focused on is imperative for his job success and that if he is unwilling to address it, you will have no alternative other than to include this notation in his performance review and that this could likely end up risking his continued employment. Stay calm and be matter of fact, but not an "ice queen or king".

Most people will say yes ... IF you approach the problem from "we are in this together" and "you wish to work WITH him" as opposed to "you have to fix this or else!".

Ask questions such as:
"What is the trigger that is creating what I am seeing?"
"What could we remove or do differently in your role to eliminate that trigger?"
"What causes the feelings that lead to the behavior I am seeing?"

Notice that no questions begin with the word WHY as this is one of the most defensive mood creating words in the English language. Once this dialogue has begun, keep on point and continue to focus on the behavior that you have begun to address. You may not find all the reasons it is happening or solve the entire world's problems in this one conversation, but you can get the ball rolling. The key is that without making the other person uncomfortable or feel like you are attacking his attitude or confidence, you have made him aware that there is an issue. You have been a contagious leader and shown your willingness to help him grow and develop in an area necessary for job success.

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How Can You Bring Monica Wofford into Your Organization?

Monica Wofford, CSP, is the CEO of Contagious Companies.

She is also an international speaker, trainer, author and coach. Having written Contagious Leadership and trained organizations and companies such as Estee Lauder, Hallmark and the FAA, the US Mint and The City of New York, Monica is a skilled facilitator who helps you develop employees who stay longer, produce more and complain less. For more information, contact our Contagious Companies office at 1-866-382-0121.