Have you ever dealt with an employee whose mere presence seems to suck all the life out of a room? Or the individual who constantly complains, creates conflict, berates all ideas, or just simply walks around with a rain cloud over their head? These “bad attitudes” can destroy morale and derail creative and innovative ideas. These folks have got to change or they must go—quickly.
Talking to them about their attitude will never work. Merely mentioning the term will get them to recoil, followed by a sharp retort of “my attitude? What do you mean? I don’t have an attitude, but maybe we should be talking about yours.”
Since attitude is something you can’t see or feel, it is best to address the manifest behavior. What did they say? How did they act? What was their tone? Always focus on observable behavior. And be very specific.
When confronting the employee, be prepared and discuss how his behavior is impacting the organization, other employees or customers. And be prepared to tell them how you want them to behave, not just how you don’t want them to perform. Show how their actions turn off their fellow employees, kill new ideas, deflate teamwork, and offend customers.
You can expect that the employee will deny the actions or will feign cluelessness. But stay focused. Address the behavior, be clear about what you expect, outline the consequences of bad behavior.
Toxic behavior needs to be eradicated the first time it rears its ugly head. Left unchecked, it will continue to get worse until it overwhelms and contaminates everything that comes in contact with it.
This was excerpted from the book Uncomplicating Management by Rick Dacri. Uncomplicating Management is available through Amazon.