Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

1.6. Attitudes

ryanrori February 7, 2021

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Attitudes are evaluative statements- either favourable or unfavourable- about objects, people or events. They tell us how someone feels about something. In organisations, attitudes are important because they affect job behaviour. For example, if the workers in an organisation believe that the supervisors and managers are all conspiring together to make them work harder for less money when they try to implement certain changes, then it makes sense to try to understand how these attitudes were formed, their relationship to actual job behaviour and how they can be changed.

Three men are approached on a construction site. They are clearly building a perimeter wall. Each is asked, ‘What are you doing?’ The first responds, “I’m a bricklayer and I’m putting in the hours to get my paycheck on Friday”. This chap’s portion of the wall is definitely higher than the other two, but the bricks aren’t regularly spaced, mortar seems to be of different thicknesses, etc.
The second chap responds saying that he is ‘building a wall to the specifications he’s been given’. His portion is about three quarters the height of the bricklayer’s work and looks fine except that the colour pattern across the bricks is somewhat haphazard and the vertical end of the wall is rough and jagged where bricks have not been cut smoothly.
The third chap is taking much more time with his work – less height than the other two but the output is attractive. He has his bricks pre-sorted into piles of slightly varying colour, his brick ends are smooth, his mortar is uniform and he has string lines at every height to ensure the bricks are laid level.
When asked what he is doing he replies simply “I’m building a cathedral’.
Many times I’ve discovered that for known or unknown reasons my attitude needs adjustment. At work I am short on the telephone. At home my interaction with the kids is of the ‘don’t bother me’ form. My tennis game is sub-par. And then as I’m walking along the corridor at work with a downbeat look, someone says – “Hey Warren it can’t be that bad.” Or the kids say “Dad, you’re a pain.” Or my doubles partner says “Are you playing with me or against me?” Thank heavens for folks who speak up and help me change.
Attitude can affect effort unbelievably. A positive attitude helps with energy level, desire, and quality of work or play. Next time you aren’t quite happy with where you are at or how you are acting, remember the three bricklayers and think about building a cathedral, not just a wall…. You’ll have a better day.

Types of attitudes in the workplace

  • Job satisfaction.  An individual’s general attitude towards his/her job
  • Job involvement.  The degree to which a person identifies with his/her job
  • Organisational commitment.  The degree to which an employee identifies with a particular organisation and its goals

Changing employee attitudes

People are at the centre of the organisation and are its richest resource. If employees buy in to the vision and mission and values of the organisation, one can develop a culture in which the way things are done reflects high performance and values-based behaviour.

High performance means: 

  • Being accountable for actions 
  • Taking responsibility and ownership for outcomes 
  • Being committed to the organisation and its strategic agenda 
  • Feeling empowered to take control 
  • Looking for opportunities to add value 
  • Being client focused 
  • Embracing change 

Things That a Positive Attitude in the Workplace Can Do

  • Career success: Who is more likely to be promoted? People thinking positively and getting results or those who constantly complain and say something is not their job?
  • Stress reduction: You feel stressed when you see events or situations as stressful. Change your perception to something more positive and the stressful feelings will go away. Instead of problems, see issues as challenges, for example, from which you and your company can ultimately benefit. Try asking yourself how you can make something easier or more enjoyable. It is amazing what you come up with when you start asking yourself these types of questions.
  • Less sick days and better productivity: This is a side benefit of stress reduction. Stress can have a serious negative impact on your health.  If you can reduce your stress or the stress of everyone in your organisation, you will enjoy better health, less sick days, and better productivity.
  • Improve customer relations and improve sales: Customers would rather deal with someone positive. Research has also shown that sales professionals who think positively and believe in the benefits of their product have much better sales performance.
  • Become a better leader: If you own a company or if you manage people, those who report to you usually get more from watching you than they do listening to what you are saying. Be a good example of having a positive attitude in the workplace. Set goals and ask for people’s support in achieving them. Take a positive attitude approach to achieving those goals and to overcoming challenges. Your attitude and enthusiasm will spread throughout your workplace. A positive attitude is just as infectious as a negative one. Be careful about which one you are fostering.
  • Improve the attitude of other employees or those who report to you: Positive attitudes are infectious. Even if you are an employee, you can help create a positive attitude in the workplace by being the change you want to see. Refuse to participate in negative conversations. When you are in a meeting or encounter a challenge, instead of dwelling on whose fault it is or on the challenge itself, steer the conversation to focus on how the issue can be overcome. You might seem a bit odd to others at first, but your attitude will begin to affect change. Keep at it and keep focused on your goal of affecting change. Soon people will be drawn to you because they cannot help but like being in the company of somebody positive. Soon the attitude will spread throughout the workplace. Alternatively, at the very least, those who insist on staying negative will not bother you anymore because they know you will not entertain their negativity.
  • Improve teamwork: Teams are much more effective when the members are united in overcoming challenges and figuring out how they can achieve their objectives rather than dwelling on all the problems and obstacles that stand in their way.
  • Improve motivation for yourself and others: If you have a positive attitude about achieving goals and success in general, you will be much more motivated to take action. If you look at what you would like to accomplish and you see only the obstacles, your motivation diminishes quickly. Ask yourself what might spur you to action.
  • Improve decision-making and overcome challenges: See challenges as opportunities to grow and become better. When you are making a business decision, you can use this same approach and your options will really open up.
  • Improve Interpersonal Relations: People like positive people. They are automatically drawn to a pleasant and upbeat demeanour. Your business and personal relationships will definitely improve when you employ a positive attitude. There are also techniques you can use to help improve other people’s reaction and attitude toward you.