No Image Available

Garry Platt


Senior Consultant

Read more from Garry Platt

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

You can’t train attitude. True or False?


You can't train attitude. True or False?

8 Responses

  1. Maybe it’s a bi-product of other training?

    What a great question for the weekend!

    Two topics come to mind where training we might offer can have a change of attitude as a "value added". I’m thinking of Health & Safety/Personal Safety and Customer Care.

    In these two areas you can design training with plenty of examples (yours and theirs), have discussions about the various elements and so on, so that people know lots more about it at the end and have some new techniques, hints and tips to put into practice when they return to the workplace. However, I would also hope that they would have a more positive attitude to (for H&S) their personal responsibilities and the importance of keeping themselves and others safe and (for CC) a genuine desire to offer a first class service because their attitude to customers has been highlighted.

    I’m going to give this lots more thought, but this was my first reaction to the question.


  2. Changing attitude


    I think that we can’t help but influence attitudes. The word ‘train’ however suggests a deliberate approach to a specific outcome, and that brings with it all sorts of moral issues about the extent to which we have the right to impose an attitude upon another person. My own default position is that I have no such automatic right, I need some licence or permission to operate in this area. So, if some one is recruited with the explicit requirement that they have a particular attitude then I guess they should not be surprised when the training directly seeks to inculcate such an attitude. Or sometimes I find that a mere behavioural technique is in danger of becoming mechanical and soleless, I might seek agreement with someone to help them align those behaviours with their mind-set so that everything is more congruent and natural. What I would object to is some form of Stalinist indoctrination potentially against someone’s will.

    The second question is around how possible is it to change someone’s attitude in an intended way. I’m not sure you can always predict the outcome (from any sort of training) but I think you can get into the right ball-park. After that it is down to the person concerned. I’m reminded of that old joke: how many trainers does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the light bulb needs to want to change.


  3. Could it be it is more influence than training?

    Perhaps by demonstrating to someone the benefits they can obtain with a good attitude vs a bad attitude maybe we can influence their desire to maintain a good attitude. Would this be considered training? Or more along the lines of coaching or even mentoring?

  4. Can Bad moods or a bad attitude be changed? Definately “YES”

    Sorry Garry:

    I totally disagree. Once an individual learns to accept why they are like they thrpung the study of Transactional Analys and are willing to make the necessary sacrfice to change their attitude, they can do so by studying NLP. Once this art is learned (which is a learned skill) an individual can change any foul mood instantly.

    I find it difficult to understand why you feel the way you do. Cheers. (Crazy Canuck from Canada)

    [email protected]  Whitby Ontario, Canada. 

  5. Confused of Derbyshire

    I think you might have misunderstood something in my question Bruce. My question (not an assertion) was:

    You can’t train attitude. True or False?

    My question was not:

    You can’t change attitude.

  6. “can” or “should”?

    I suspect that most people would agree that attitudes can be changed or influenced by training interventions, but I think a valuable connected debate is actually about whether the training function (Be it called Training, L&D, People Management, Staff Development or whatever) should automatically accept responsibility for changing attitudes.

    Whilst an element of attitudinal shift is a frequent byproduct of a training intervention, a training intervention alone cannot take responsibility for creating a meaningful and sustainable attitudinal change if line managers don’t work to make that change work as well.  For example, staff are sent on a training course to improve customer service.  They return to the workplace where they are treated by their managers and managers’ managers in the same way that they were treated before (because, so often, managers refuse to attend a training event for various reasons; have you not repeatedly heard the comment from delegates "Please send my manager on this course!"?).  They are back to  complying with policies and procedures which are not wholly customer centric (such as a 30 day sales cycle, or escalation of every issue to a manager). Consequently there is little actual change in behaviours or bottom line resuts based on same.

    "Training" is not a silver bullet or a panacea- but all too often the training function is handed a problem and told to sort it out with a training solution….when that doesn’t work, we all know where the finger of blame points!


  7. Setting yourself up to succeed

    True.  You can’t ‘train attitude’.  What you can do is raise awareness of existing attitudes and train behaviours, which if changed over time may well result in changing attitudes.  I think if your stated learning objective for a learning intervention is to change attitudes that you’re likely to be setting yourself up for failure, and that’s never fun.

     Twitter: ProsperosWorld Facebook: Prospero’s World Blog:

  8. Who chooses your attitude?

    I don’t think that you can train attitude, what you can do (as discussed in some of the answers) is make people more self aware of the impact of their attitude on themselves and others.  This self awareness then hopefully prompts the individual to modify the way in which they behave.

    A previous Manager of mine always posed the question, "Who chooses your attitude everyday?"  the reply

    "You do!"


No Image Available
Garry Platt

Senior Consultant

Read more from Garry Platt

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.

Thank you!