"Attitude is everything." You hear that line all the time. In the workplace, attitude and job performance often go hand-in-hand. When someone has a bad attitude, the following terms come to mind: sullen, uncooperative, rude, ungrateful, resistant--the list could go on forever. Someone with a good attitude is a person who "goes the extra mile." She does it with a grin and always asks for more.
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Characteristics of a Star Employee
As managers and supervisors, we always want to find that star employee in the interview process. Some of the most prevalent signs of a good attitude in a potential worker would be good posture, meticulous grooming, good eye contact, a firm handshake and a steady, confident voice. Other indicators of a good attitude would be an early arrival to the interview, pertinent questions asked in the meeting, and open and honest answers to job-related questions.
Signs of a Poor Attitude
Some characteristics to watch for in potential problem employees would be tardiness, unprofessional attire, speaking in monosyllables, failure to answer basic questions and an untidy, incomplete application. Some applicants may have the above characteristics because they are new to the interview process. Check their job experience and use your own judgment as to whether they may still be potential employees.
Good Attitudes Can Be Taught
Your goal should be to take the problem employees you already work with and attempt to change their work behaviour and thought process. There are several effective ways to do this. The very best method is to lead by example. Always portray professionalism and a superior work attitude to your subordinates. Be firm but courteous. "Do as I say and not as I do" does not go very far in improving employee attitudes. Make difficult employees feel special by having a casual one-on-one meeting with them so you can update them on their career progress and let them know how much you appreciate their efforts. Always provide employees with supplemental materials such as magazine articles, books, seminars and in-house classes. It makes work more interesting and interactive. Good working conditions always make it easier to change an employee's attitude toward his job. Breaks, internal competitions and employee parties and outings can be helpful in maintaining superior morale.
Good Attitudes = Great Performance
Hire the right people and production will rise, because employees with a good work attitude care about what they do. Their jobs provide meaning to them and in turn they will give back to their company. Employees with good attitudes are punctual and focused. They are more goal-driven and competitive. They give a little something extra to every task handed to them.
Jeff Keller, in his book "Attitude is Everything," says about his own progress to a better attitude after a career change: "Why am I telling you about my career transition? It's not to impress you with what I've done. Believe me, I've made plenty of blunders along the way. I'm sharing my story because I want you to know how drastically my life changed--and how much better it got--when I made a change in my own attitude."
Attitude and You
You can make the difference in your employees. Do not expect of your employees what you do not expect of yourself. Gossiping about co-workers, arriving late for work, taking long lunch breaks and leaving early will send the wrong messages to those who work for you. To be the right example to your employees, be an exemplary employee to your own direct supervisor.
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