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How to Change People's Bad Attitudes At Work

How to Change People's Bad Attitudes at Work

How to Change People's Bad Attitudes at Work

Definition: Attitude is the sum of a person's thoughts, feelings and beliefs about any issue.

People have attitudes towards everything; about the Monarchy, the Police, their boss, their work and especially, about themselves.

Attitudes affect results, because attitudes affect behaviour.

People can have either positive or negative attitudes, which affect their results accordingly.

  • People with bad attitudes tend to get bad results.
  • People with good attitudes tend to get better results.

If we work with somebody who has a bad attitude, what should we do?

Here are the steps:

  1. Understand that attitudes are based upon a person's fundamental beliefs.
  2. To change a person's attitudes, we must first understand the fundamental beliefs that underpin them.
  3. We may assume that the person with the bad attitude holds negative beliefs about the situation, or person being thought about.
  4. To change their attitude, you must change their beliefs.
  5. So, we begin by asking probing questions to uncover the underlying, fundamental beliefs which are generating the attitude.
  6. Once we understand what the belief is, we must change their belief by reframing the situation in a more positive light.
  7. If you are successful in reframing the belief, the attitude will automatically change, and so will their behaviour.

Example of how to change a "bad attitude".

Last week, I presented a two-day leadership and management training programme and one of the delegates, Bob, seemed to have a bad attitude towards the training.

Consequently, he looked unhappy, was grumpy, and unfriendly. He said very little and did not engage with me, or the other delegates.

His "bad attitude" was affecting the other members of the group, so during the first tea break, I took the opportunity to speak to him in order to discover what was going on.

Listen-in to our conversation:

  • Chris: Bob, I can't help noticing that you don't look very happy. What are you thinking?
  • Bob: I don't like training courses.
  • Chris: What is it about them you don't like?
  • Bob: I feel self-conscious. I am afraid that I am going to be made to look foolish; or that I will have to take part in a role play, or something. I don't like role plays. I don't like feeling that everyone is looking at me.
  • Chris: Bob, let me reassure you that the only one who needs to do role plays is me. If you don't want to do the role plays, don't do them. My mission today is to help you. I do that by answering any questions you have, and by adding as much value as I can, in the time I have available. So, would you tell me; on this course, what do you want to learn, that would make your life better?
  • Bob: I would like to learn how to NOT allow situations like these, to upset my mood and how to be less self-conscious.
  • Chris: That's good, because we are covering that topic this afternoon when we are talking about "emotional management". I think you will really enjoy it and get a lot from this training. So, Bob, are you "Good to Go" now?
  • Bob: As long as you don't expect me to speak, then I am good to go.
  • Chris: You can rest assured that I won't call on you to speak, or answer any questions, but if you do have any questions, then please feel free to ask them. Okay?
  • Bob: Okay.

We returned to the course, and from then on, Bob was a fully engaged, though mostly quiet, member of the group.

On the second day of the course, Bob was totally transformed. He was fully engaged and vocal, and when compared to the beginning of the course, he seemed to be a different man.

He even told my how much he is enjoying the course and apologised for "being offish, yesterday".

How did I successfully change his attitude and behaviour?

I identified the belief that underpinned the "bad attitude" and I changed it.

If you can learn this skill, then you will be able to change people with bad attitudes.

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About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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