Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 20th 2014 Contents BG24 COMMENTARY
BUSINESS GUARDIAN www.guardian.co.tt MARCH 2014 • WEEK THREE
Need to have "the
talk" about a bad
attitude at work?
Keep in mind, most bad atti-
tudes are a result of an unresolved
incident or a poor relationship with
a boss or upper management. If
you, as a manager, notice a bad
attitude at work, investigate imme-
diately and save yourself hours of
For those of us who are uncom-
fortable with immediate confronta-
tion and tend to wait, I ve carved
out some pointers on how to have
"the talk" to manage a bad attitude
Unfortunately, you will know a
meeting is necessary with an
employee based on his or her poor
behaviour and your company pol-
icy.Gather documentation relating
to the negative behavior. Stick to
the facts of the incident during
your conversation; usually a "bad
attitude at work" is too subjective.
You will need solid behaviors as
outlined in your company policy
to have a true case.
You will want to prepare for all
possible responses and outcomes
of the meet; both for how you fear
they may react and for the
response you really want.
Rehearse those possible out-
comes with an HR representative
prior to the meet to feel solid about
Contact the employee and set a
time and place for your meeting
as quickly as possible after a doc-
umentable incident occurs.
Meet with the employee pri-
vately (less acting out) or with an HR
representative you feel comfortable
Tell the employee specifically what
incident or behaviour sparked the meet-
ing. Here are some words you can ease
I m not sure you are aware of this"
Remain calm, professional and unruf-
fled. (Have trouble with this one?
A Magic Bullet Strategy Session is just
Ask for help understanding any per-
sonal or professional issues he or she
is experiencing that may have caused
the signs of a bad attitude at
work. Here s a warm way to move into
this line of questioning.
"What s going on?" or "How do you
think things are with...?"
Allow the individual to express rea-
sons why they are acting poorly. Be
compassionate no matter what, their
reason make sense to them.
Advise him or her what the company
or you will do about anything you have
not yet handled prior to this meet. This
is especially relevant if this meeting
brought up new information to you on
the subject that may have relevance to
Calmly explain how others at work
perceive his/her attitude and behav-
Make it clear that continuing the neg-
ative behaviour will not be permitted
regardless of their reasons, reminding
them of your company policy.
If valid, inform them that their neg-
ative behaviour and this meeting will
be noted on their personnel file.
Ask that they not repeat their bad
attitude at work behaviour. You ve
already explained the consequences if
they do. A question to get them to shift
their behaviour could be...
"Are you willing to do something
If the employee gets out of line during
the meeting, terminate the meeting
right there. Initiate the next line of
action for this worker as already agreed
between you and HR.
Here is how to ask for the agree-
"I d like to make a request of you. I
noticed you haven t spoken up in last
three meetings. May I make a request
that you talk when addressed during
"Will you agree to do that?"
Assume this meeting will go well;
after all, it can unless the employee no
longer wishes to work at your compa-
ny.If the employee senses nothing will
change in this meeting, expect to observe
more of the bad attitude at work.
People are motivated by pain or
reward. "The Talk" above offers both
and allows the employee to choose what
makes most sense to them while main-
If you struggle with having those bad
attitude at work conversations, snoop
around my blog and Web site -- there
are plenty of resources to ensure you
Pamela Cournoyer is founder of
Communicate with CLASS Consult-
ing and you can visit her Web site
Her understanding and grasp of the
natural nuances of discord in the
workplace, coupled with her exten-
sive 20+ years background as a
professional trainer, coach and facil-
itator, are the perfect combination.
She is holder of five national Master
Cournoyer will be delivering a
three-day workshop at the Arthur
Lok Jack Graduate School of Busi-
ness entitled, From Managers to
Leaders: 9 Simple Coaching Method-
ologies that Enhance Team Per-
formance and Increase the Bottom
Line, on April 28-30.
If you would like more information
on this workshop, please send an
e-mail to: openenrolment @lokjack-
gsb.edu.tt or contact 645-6700, ext
Bad attitude at work:
Have the 'talk'
Arthur Lok Jack GSB
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