Your presentation was absolutely outstanding! Several people told me you were the BEST Keynote Speaker we have ever had!
Jan Woodman, Executive Director, The New England Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association
Jun 30, 2014

Management Challenge #14: When an Employee Needs an Attitude Adjustment
Excerpted from The 27 Challenges Managers Face

When an employee starts seeming like someone with a bad attitude, you need to start talking about that in your regular one-on-one dialogue with that person. Zero in on the negative behaviors, one at a time:

  1. Describe the specific words, format, tone and gestures. “You fold your arms, roll your eyes, and say ‘No.’”
  2. Connect the behavior with tangible work outcomes: “This makes other people, including me, reluctant to approach you even when they need something from you. Also when you manifest disdain for someone, that person has an automatic incentive to diminish the weight of your opinion.”
  3. Make reference to the performance requirement or best practice from which the negative behavior deviates: “We all need to be available and welcoming to each other in order to keep each other informed, cooperate with each other, and meet each other’s business needs.”
  4. Define the replacement behavior that you will use as a specific performance expectation against which to measure the individual’s improvement. Discuss some possible replacement behaviors and then decide on one: “Smile, open your arms wide, and say ‘Yes. Tell me more about that.’”
  5. Continue to follow up in your ongoing one-on-ones. Pay attention. Monitor, measure and document as best you can. Ask the individual to self-monitor and report to you on progress on a regular basis. Reward success. Do not accept failure.



Using the outside lens of “communication practices,” we’ve identified in our research the six most common types of individual attitude problems–—aberrant communication habits—- that have a negative impact in the workplace.

  • Porcupines want to be left alone at work… and with a special vengeance. Their words, tone, and gestures all say: “Get away from me!”
  • Entanglers want everybody else to be involved in their issues, no matter how mundane or idiosyncratic those issues may be.
  • If entanglers are into communication that goes nowhere in particular, debaters always speak as if they have an agenda. Often it’s the other side of whatever is being said.
  • Complainers and blamers are such close cousins. The most important thing these characters have in common is that each points responsibility for problems away from himself.
  • Stink-bomb throwers go as far as making sarcastic (or worse) remarks, cursing under their breath (or aloud), or even making a loud gesture such as slamming a door (or their hands down on a table).




Coming to bookstores everywhere September 15 from Wiley/Jossey-Bass.

amazon.logo   b&n logo  IndieBound-logo


I’m STILL thrilled to report that my new book, The 27 Challenges Managers Face: Step-by-Step Solutions to (Nearly) All of Your Management Problems is coming out in September! It’s getting closer every day… As you will see from the previews in this newsletter and elsewhere, there are a lot of really concrete management problems and step-by-step solutions to those problems. That’s the essence of the book. Spoiler alert: Challenge after challenge, the best solutions come from systematically applying the fundamentals of management. Please let me know what you think!! I’d love to get your feedback. Until next time…

Stay strong!



USA Today

Gender loses its impact with the young

June 21, 2014

Huffington Post

The Challenge of Moving From Peer to Leader

June 19, 2014


Engaging Generation Z or How to Recognize Your Summer Interns

June 18, 2014

National Geographic

Your Generation Is Showing
Reflecting on The ’90s Through Gen-Tinted Glasses

June 2014

Progressive Grocer

The Fundamentals are All You Need

June 5, 2014

Huffington Post

Can You Be a Hands-On Manager in a Hands-Off Culture?

June 4, 2014


Constant Improvement Works, Even With the Most Intangible Performance