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:
- Describe the specific words, format, tone and gestures. “You fold your arms, roll your eyes, and say ‘No.’”
- 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.”
- 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.”
- 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.’”
- 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.
FROM OUR RESEARCH:
THE SIX MOST COMMON ATTITUDES IN NEED OF ADJUSTMENT
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).
MY NEW BOOK
Coming to bookstores everywhere September 15 from Wiley/Jossey-Bass.
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…
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