Perhaps some of the easiest advice is “you don’t”. Hehe. Okay, I’ll be serious as that’s just not helpful. Attitude problems are difficult to deal with at best, emotional at a minimum, and challenge the very advanced skills of even the best leader. There. Still want to deal with an attitude problem? If you’re up for the challenge, so am I, so let’s look at three successful methods to deal with that kind of problem.
Employee problems can come in all shapes and sizes and you may not always be dealing with attitude as the primary problem. There are performance issues and behavior problems, too, and each have a different solution. There’s an eBook I’ve created for you in this post that will simply, quickly, and objectively help you determine what kind of problem you have on your hands. (Stop! I want to Download it Now!) You’ll want to use the assessment in this eBook to determine the problem because matters will only get worse if you use a solution to address behaviors or performance on something as delicate as attitude and just what it means to have an attitude problem. As an example, being late, passing the buck or sharing gossip are not attitude problems.
That statement could apply to many things. Recognize the personality of the person you’re about to counsel. Recognize their level of stress and how high it is the moment they walk into your office. But in this case, you want to recognize what exactly you are addressing. What is an attitude problem? What does it mean to say someone has an attitude problem? Well, attitude is something people associate with who they are and if you’ve called it a problem, in truth it is you who has the problem with their attitude. If it were a problem for them, they would have changed it by now. Whereas, other issues are simply about what they do and that seems more doable to change. For that reason, when you recognize the sensitive nature of such a discussion, exercise compassion, patience, and restraint. You may not like their attitude, but if you truly want what you see to change, you want to find a way to like the person behind the attitude and give them a chance to change. You may be the first person who actually addressed this issue with them and if they see you as a source of support, they’re more likely to be interested in making changes.
I had this conversation with a client late last week and it was about how we all inadvertently and often completely unconsciously, expect others to eventually “get it” and be just like us. Spouses can spend years devoted to the cause of fixing the other. Parents might try to fix their kids and Bosses often try to fix employees. While all are usually well meaning, you are no more going to get someone to think, speak, believe, and behave just like you if that’s not who they are, then you are going to be able to coax, coach, persuade, or counsel me to one day become a black woman. Think about that for a moment. Bigger than simply misaligned expectations about performance, this issue is about who you expect someone to be or become as a result of your coaching conversations. You can help someone overcome the source of stress causing an attitude. You can help them break the habit of showing you their attitude. What you cannot do is get them to change who they are in a way that is long term and permanent.
Attitude issues are not easy to address and certainly require a bit of finesse, but never fear, help is here. First, download your eBook to determine what type of problem you’re actually facing and then stay tuned to upcoming Monday Moments, all of which are designed to help you become a better leader.
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday, and of course, stay contagious!