Attitude is Everything
Attitude is everything. The majority of employees that are fired are terminated because they won’t do the job vs they can’t do the job. This morning, I was talking my business friend Carol about an employee. The employee has projects that require internet research to find out more about prospects. Once a prospect list is developed, the list can be further refined via phone calls. The employee, however, skips the research and goes straight to the phone calls. Carol has counseled the employee several times, but the employee persists. What’s the issue?
The issue is the employee’s attitude. The employee may or may not have the skill to do the job. You need further investigation to determine this. Some employee’s refuse to do a task they way they’ve been asked because they can’t do it the way they were asked. Other’s do not do the task the way they were asked because they don’t want to. As long as a supervisor has a valid reason for “how” a task is done, it is reasonable to expect an employee to do it that way. In this case, it’s a waste of time to go right to the prospect without first doing research to make sure they are a valid prospect (i.e. a vetting process).
How can you handle this?
If you are the supervisor:
Move the discussion from “how” to do it to questions about “why” the project isn’t being done the way you have outlined. You
are listening for valid reasons on what keeps the employee from doing the project as requested. If there are no reasons, then you specifically address the attitude getting in the way of performance.
If you are the employee:
Look in the mirror and review your own attitude on why you won’t comply with instructions. Do you have a valid reason and aren’t expressing it well? Do you understand how to do the work? Do you not want to do the work? The last one is the big one. Attitude is everything and if you continue to refuse to do what is asked, you are staring down a termination at some point in the future.
This kind of situation creates a GarbageFactor™ for everyone involved. The supervisor has to deal with the GarbageFactor™ of an employee not following instructions. The employee has to deal with the GarbageFactor™ of a supervisor who is not happy with his/her performance because it is not what they asked for. In the end, the supervisor is driving this vehicle. If it happens once in a while, it may not be a big issue. But if it happens repeatedly with the same employee, then this relationship may not work.
Remember, people don’t quit bad jobs, they quit bad working relationships. It’s not about who is right and who is wrong, it’s about people mutually getting their needs met. If one is getting their needs met at the other’s expense, the relationship won’t work. The way for both to win is for both to admit attitude is everything and find the place where each person’s attitude can thrive.