Why can idiots at work drive away your best employees? How do you describe a person with a bad or negative attitude? Can you do anything about it? Stop and ask your self these questions and do they affect you and your work team?
More than likely they are present in your work environment and whether the idiot disturbs you or not, they are most likely disturbing someone on the team. If you are the manager and your natural style is not bothered by theirs, your common reaction is to simply ignore the situation, and tell the others to simply ignore them and forget about it. This is quite possibly the worst thing a leader can do, yet it happens all of the time. By doing nothing about it you are endorsing the behavior (in essence rewarding it) and hurting the better people on the team. After enough of this, the better people will become frustrated and begin looking elsewhere for employment. Yeah that strategy really works.
Let’s stop and analyze negative attitudes and negative behavior.
Before you can stop and analyze the negative attitude or behavior take out a blank sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle. On the top of the right column, write a heading “Positive Attitudes," and on the top of the left column, write a heading “Negative Attitudes." Beginning with the right column, write down the characteristics and behaviors you notice of those who possess a positive attitude. This should be easy. Your list will likely include increased team morale, increased productivity, less absenteeism, less gossip among many others. Go ahead and do this now.
Next, you will do the same in the left column with the negative attitudes. If you are like most people, among others, this column will include the opposite of what you have in the right column.
This probably does not surprise you does it? The real secret is to do this with a group, and the most effective way is to split the group into half. Separate them into two different rooms before you start. Do not tell them about the exercise until they are in separate rooms.
Give one group the positive and the other group the negative. Be sure and not let on that the other group has the opposite. This works exceptionally well if each group has a large flip chart to write down the responses. When they have completed the exercise which should take no more than 15 minutes, bring them together and have a spoke person from each group read off what they have written down. What do you think will happen when they come back together?
The true secret to any exercise is the debriefing. Don’t skim over this part, and don’t worry if it takes as much as 30-45 minutes. Getting everyone’s input about the meaning of this benefits the entire team including those who are already positive.
If possible, after the debriefing post both the negative and positive comments on a wall where everyone can see them. The reminder factor is amazing. Also do not be afraid to bring the topic back up at regular staff meetings. The more you discuss attitudes and behaviors the more effective the communication among the team will become. As communication improves so does productivity and when productivity increases whining and bad attitudes decrease.
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