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Seb Anthony

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How is your attitude?


There is great weight put on a persons attitude.
It is as if this is something for which they are individually responsible and should be held to account for.

The same feeling comes from the FISH programme which tells us to "Choose your Attitude". The inference seems to be that no matter what you do the way that you approach it is your responsibility.

Take the FISH example.
You work for a Fish retailer and your job is to get up and four O'clock every morning to be at work for five.
You spend the next twelve hours throwing wet Fish around then go home to rest and get ready to do it all over again the next day.

At five O'clock in the morning you are up for it. You work with a great bunch of guys and you get to spend a lot of your time interacting with the public and it feels good to be able to brighten their day.

You have a good attitude and are looking forward to the day.

At half past six you drop a Fish that was thrown to you by a colleague. It happens.

Unfortunately the drop was seen by the new manager who says, "You, my office, now!"

He goes on to tell you many secrets about how to handle fish.
How much they cost, how he doesn't expect people who work for him to act like clowns, how bad it makes the company look and exactly what will happen to you if he ever catches you horsing round again.

When he has finished you go back out to the shop, how do you feel?

How is your attitude? And who is responsible for it?

Are you full of the joys of spring or do you spend your day morose and resentful trying to work out a way to get your revenge on the manager?

Attitude is our responsibility, but not our own attitude.

We are responsible for the attitude of those around us and they are responsible for ours.

We can't say thank you to ourselves but we can make others feel good by saying it to them.

Until we realise the power that we have over the attitude of others we will always run the risk of condemning another for a "Bad Attitude".

We will lose the value that person could have brought to us if we had taken the time to find out why they had a "Bad Attitude" and what we could do about it.

Is a "Bad attitude" permanent?

Peter Hunter

3 Responses

  1. Bad Attitude ….?
    I personally have not heard of the ‘Fish’ story until now however to me it demonstrates two things:-

    1. the positive attitude of the employee,
    2. the management style of the manager,

    In business life I have seen many a positive person have their attitude ‘chipped away’ by the management style of their manager. I have worked in call/contact centre environments where call centre advisors have left the training environment positive and looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead of them however after a few months working with a manager who has the ‘X’ style management techniques (McGregor’s theory) have felt so down trodden and un-motivated that they have left the business.

    This story highlights the importance of good management development programmes and the need for managers to be able to adapt their style to the employee they are speaking to.

    Do we not also say that we learn by making mistakes?

    With regards to the statement ‘is a bad attitude permanent’ I feel this depends on the individual …. Do they WANT to change their attitude …?

  2. Bad Attitude
    I agree with Neil that a bad manager can do lots of damage. Ideally all managers should have employment and interpersonal skills training to understand the impact on their staff.

    Employees with a bad attitude should also be provided with interpersonal and communication skills training as part of an improvement programme possibly as part of poor performance/conduct. Sometimes a person doesn’t realise that how they come across to others and need to have this pointed out with suggestions for improvements.

    Sandra Beale

  3. Bahhh humbug!
    Great debate!

    “Attitude” is an a awareness thing. Mangement skills and training account for diddly squat if that training doesn’t involve people awareness.

    To some extent you can choose your attitude. But if we agree that attitude is emotionally driven, by default those emotions are tested by the environment in which we operate.

    Being emotionally intelligent is of paramount importance to the successful leader: and, now that we are able to assess exactly what is emotional intelligence, sometimes they can be a bit dumb in areas :0)

    Forget the management skills- they know the profit and loss stuff.
    Spend time on emotionally skilling the workforce and ensuring they are “in a job they love” (because they are emotionally capable) and in the right job (because they are emotionally aware) is what FISH is really saying…

    Attitude, behaviour- emotionals! Yes they are all permanent. And also changeable.


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