Increasing productivity is relatively easy because you can measure and quantify production, and then respond effectively. But how do you fix poor attitudes, which you can’t quantify? Actually, it’s not that hard.
A list of poor attitudes typically presented to me by managers and employees includes negativity, insubordination, narcissism, hyper-sensitivity, bullying, abuse of power and lack of responsibility.
To read the rest of this article from the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, see: You can Change Attitude Problems at Work
A typical list of behaviors that result from those attitudes is: chronic gossip, back-stabbing, sarcasm, negativity, manipulation, sabotage, formation of cliques, nepotism, favoritism, critical complaining, whining, demeaning comments, bullying bosses, dishonest evaluations, flaming e-mails, disrupting meetings, abusive remarks, ignoring suggestions, “Drama Queens,” blowing up in response to feedback, turf-control, crabbiness, over-reactions, lack of communication, mind reading, people who want their minds read, pointing fingers, taking things personally, the loud, silent treatment and my all-time favorite: “not my job.”
I use a straightforward, action-oriented approach that changes company cultures infected with poor attitudes. The key is to be clear and specific about which attitudes and behaviors you want, and then to require participation in a culture that has them. Don’t be a conflict-avoidant manager.
How do you clarify attitudes you can’t quantify? The first step is to acknowledge that although you can’t quantify attitudes like “narcissistic control-freak,” you can recognize and document behaviors without resorting to mind reading, moral judgments or personal attacks. Then you can act on your documentation of non-professional versus professional behavior.
Make sure it’s legal. Then everyone from the owner on down is required to subscribe to or sign off on the new code of professional behavior. The code then becomes a significant part of everyone’s evaluations. Be consistent in rewarding the desired behavior and having consequences for actions against your code.
Reinforce your expectations with new employees; publicize your code during hiring interviews. Don’t bring people on board who argue with the code or who think the team should adjust to accommodate their personality or favorite styles that violate your code.
High standards for positive attitudes protect everyone from unprofessional behavior. Learn what you can do to eliminate the high cost of low attitudes, behavior and performance.