Employees with bad attitudes!

What progress do you make with employees having bad attitudes?

Probably not much.  More likely, it’s a regular source of stress and irritation to you.

I remember a former manager told me I had a bad attitude.  I had two words for her, which, while proving her right in that moment, didn’t do anything to build trust and rapport between us.  My lack of respect for her decreased.

Telling an employee, they have a bad attitude, usually will not get them to do what you want them to do.

It is a personal attack, which most will defend (although a genius answer an employee could give if told they have a bad attitude would be thanks, that’s what I was going for!)

A bad attitude is your opinion, it’s not a fact.

Most people don’t think they have a bad attitude, they think you have the bad attitude, or they are justified in feeling the way they do.

These opinions and discussions will usually not get the work done.

The big challenge for you would be to get past your opinion and come up with a fact.

How do you come up with a fact for someone with a bad attitude?

Focus on something they aren’t doing.  Don’t mention the attitude.

Some examples include:

  • Your report had three errors.
  • You missed the deadline.
  • You aren’t responding to my emails within X hours

While your employee might come up with excuses for anything mentioned above, its less personal because their character is not being attacked.

Giving feedback that is factual, objective, specific and measurable makes it more about the work and less about the person.

When we can change telling someone they have a bad attitude to something factual:

  • We will listen more to what they’re saying
  • It’s not about you being right and they being wrong
  • There is more common ground between the two of you

Being factual, objective, specific and measurable could be very challenging.

It requires you to get past those thoughts that keep us irritated.  But when we’re able to do this it will help us be more effective as managers.

The Value of Company Values

How should managers handle company values?

Company values are broad and subjective.

Strive for excellence.  Integrity.  Customer Excellence

These are examples of values companies espouse.

How can you use these as a manager?

Company values are broad in meaning on purpose.  They are meant to be subjective and up to interpretation.


Because that way more people can connect with those values in a way that works for them, to help them be as productive as they can.

When you’re in conflict with employees, it could be advantageous to go back to core company values.  What values does your employee value?  Do they value them differently than you do?

If you can connect with them on something that is obstructing their values you can make progress in getting something changed.

For example, you might feel an employee is abrupt.  They don’t feel that way.  So telling them that they are abrupt will only make them defensive.

However, if they value getting along with others, you can present the issue in a way that they can relate.

When you know what your employees value:

  • You will better identify their motivational triggers
  • You’ll know the best way to approach them
  • Complex issues can be resolved

The key is to get to know what your employees personally value.

One on one meetings foster this by providing ongoing dialogue between you and each of your employees.

Diplomatic vs Direct

As a manager, which is better, to be diplomatic or to be direct?

A trick question!

There is no one answer.  The answer is it depends.  It depends on the situation, on the employee and how they like to interact.

As managers, the challenge is to not do what we prefer, but what our employees want.

Some of our employees want us to be diplomatic in our approach.  Some of our employees want us to be direct.

To those of us who prefer to be diplomatic in our approach, it will be very uncomfortable for us to be direct, because we don’t want to appear rude.  But in fact, when you aren’t being direct to someone who wants you to be direct, you are being rude!

Same goes the other way.

For those of us who prefer to be direct in our approach, it will appear very uncomfortable for us to be diplomatic.  But if you remain direct to someone who prefers you being diplomatic, they will shut down.

Two examples of how this could be uncomfortable.

You have a problem.

The diplomatic person would like to talk to the direct person by stating “hello, how’s it going?  I want to thank you for the work you do. Many things are going well.  Now, there is one thing I’d like to talk to you about.”

You’ve already lost this individual!  They want you to get to the point!

What you should say:  “We have a problem.  I see either option A, B, or C as the solution.  Which do you like or do you have one of your own?”

Just get to the point!  Be direct.

The opposite is true as well.

If you like to be direct, and someone who likes someone to diplomatic gives you a report that is all wrong, your tendency would be to say “this is wrong, fix it.”

This could traumatize this person!

What they want to hear:  “I appreciate the work you put into this report.  You spent a lot of time on it.  Now what I need is……”

They will be more accepting to do the next thing.

When we adjust our diplomatic and direct skills with employees based on their preference rather than our comfort level:

  • Listening to each other will improve
  • There will be less conflict
  • You are more likely to get the outcome you desire


There is no guarantee getting out of your comfort zone to match your employees will get you your desired results.  However, your managerial effectiveness is likely to increase when you do adjust your style to let our employee’s desires supersede our comfort.


How efficiently do you run your meetings?

Step back and think.  Would anyone consider the meetings you run a waste of time?

Facilitating meetings is a skill.  Most people don’t take the time to learn those skills.

However, there is a connection between how well meetings are run and the health of the team, department, or groups that attend those meetings.

What does it mean to run meetings efficiently? It means people listen to each other, everyone is heard, and people are held accountable for the actions for which they are responsible.

What is a healthy team, department or group?  It means people listen to each other, everyone is heard, and people are held accountable for the actions for which they are responsible!

A way to increase the likelihood of efficient meetings is to have ground rules established.

Ground rules are procedures that everyone in the meeting agrees to follow.

Examples include:  one person talks at a time, everyone arrives on time, no cell phones, et al.

You also need to get agreement from all participants on what you (or others) can do if someone breaks the ground rules.

When you have ground rules, you’ve set a precedent, a process and accountability for all to follow.  It’s similar to having a process for regular one on one meetings with your employees.

As paradoxical as it sounds, the more processes you have in place, the more freedom it gives everyone to establish an environment where things get accomplished!

When managers facilitate meetings well:

  • It provides an environment for communication and growth
  • It sets standards for being held accountable
  • It starts to set expectations companywide on what to expect from meetings

Running meetings is not just a management skill.  But when managers run effective meetings, it sets a standard for others, especially your employees, to do so as well.