One of the biggest problems I’m finding that my clients are having at the moment is team members with a different work ethic or attitude.
I found this out because I asked them, “What’s the problem?” “Can they not do something? Is this a problem?”,
And they say “No”, “Well, they just turn up and they don’t work hard, they don’t work on the right things, they don’t communicate well and they just kind of mope around the office.”
And I was like “Well, so what’s going on for them?” and they respond, “Well, they’ve just got a poor attitude.”
The difficult thing about attitude is, people are born with it. So how do you actually, as a boss or a manager or a leader, how do you shift their attitude? If you get this right, you’re able to do it in a way that keeps the relationship, where they still want to work for you, and they just kind of also still think you’re somewhat cool.
If you get this wrong, they think you’re like their parent and they want to run a million miles, but they won’t tell you that.
How To Go About Shifting Attitude Without Sounding Like Their Parent
Think about your people and their development from two angles.
- The first is that on a daily basis, they carry around a set of beliefs and mindsets about their work, which we call their attitude. And the thing about attitude is it changes. And what we know is that it impacts our behaviour – all our behaviour. The attitude we carry can impact the way we carry ourselves, the way we talk, the way we interact..
Your Attitude Is Your Belief About What You Do
- And then we got capabilities, which is the skills, processes you use, and it’s how you package those together. YOUR CAPABILITIES ARE WHAT YOU DO. At a certain level, as we move and transition through the organisation, most of the focus is on the capability gaps, learning new skills. And the challenge is for you to look at your personal work, and at a certain point, you can say you’ve learnt everything you know about the job. But the problem is there’s a gap in your attitude.
How do you go about shifting attitude?
The first mistake people make is mostly what they do – they apply the same teaching method that they use for capability. So, this sounds like, “I’m going to teach you how to have my attitude, ’cause my attitude is awesome”.
- The first principle is: Don’t teach attitude. Because if you do, it’s not going to turn out so well.
- The second principle is: People only choose their attitude. You cannot force them to take on a particular attitude. So with the philosophy of them choosing a new attitude, all you can do is ask questions, which is essentially coach, and encourage them through those questions to examine their own thinking.
- Third principle. Leverage. Use their goal to create change. So if they’ve got a goal in moving up in the organisation, or getting more balance, or moving to a different point, or doing something different, use that as a catalyst for talking about, or how do you want to carry yourself in that role. What sort of thinking or beliefs do you need to do in that role?
A lot of you are great teachers. You spend a lot of time teaching your staff the things they need to be successful. But attitude has always been this thing that we often hire for, we don’t teach. But we don’t always have the luxury all the time to be able to either pay for it because to get the people we want, and we need to develop it within our role. So if you want to develop it in your role, three principles:
- Don’t use teaching. Doesn’t work to develop capability.
- People have to choose their attitude. So all you can do is coach and ask questions, and encourage that out of them.
- If they want to go somewhere or do something, leverage that as the framing for the coaching process that you’re going to use.
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This is going to be really useful because many people out there are talking about this. What I want you to think about is think about that person in your head whose attitude stinks the most. And what I want you to do is how you’re going to apply this with them to help them shift their attitude. See you next time on the Reason the Road.