Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORKPLACE / JAN. 17, 2015
version 2, draft 2

How to Help Someone Improve a Bad Attitude in the Workplace

A negative attitude in one employee can make other workers lose faith in themselves and in management, which slows down production and jeopardizes the completion of tasks. An employee with a bad attitude is difficult to work with; however, there are ways you can ensure that tasks run smoothly by helping such a person get past their habit so that they can approach assignments more positively.

Directly Address the Issue

You should let the person know how their bad attitude is affecting fellow workers and levels of productivity. In some instances, you might find that a worker is not even aware of the adverse effects of their behavior. It is best to speak to the employee during a planned evaluation or coaching session, because they’ll be in a good position to listen to you and reflect on their behavior.

Maintain Constant Communication

After an initial meeting with the employee, monitor him or her to see how well they are working and if they are improving. Be careful not to end up micromanaging him though, because this might make him lose confidence in his ability to work independently and could go on to reinforce the negative behavior. Keep in touch with him just enough to show concern for his wellbeing while allowing him to conduct his duties. Communicating effectively reduces any confusion between you.

Be Empathetic

When a worker with a bad attitude knows that someone is willing to listen to them and cares, they are likely to change their behavior and even develop enthusiasm for work. Find ways to help them readjust so that they can work more easily with everyone in the office. Perhaps you could present them with a list of goals or reassign their duties so that you show that you have their best interests at heart, while also realizing the overall needs of the workplace.

Create a Positive Work Environment

Dissipate negative energy by creating an atmosphere filled with good vibrations. Have an open-door policy that makes the management more approachable and helpful. Compliment and commend workers whenever a job is done well, because it boosts their morale and encourages them. Where possible, look for ways to make a person with a bad attitude feel appreciated. Recognize their contribution in front of their peers so that they can continue to work towards positive goals.

Inform Them about Repercussions

In the event that the worker does not heed to advice to change their bad attitude, you should make them aware that action could be taken against them. No matter what personal- or work-related troubles the employee is having, inform them that they have to maintain a high degree of professionalism around the workplace. Do this appropriately either through a memo or an official letter. It is necessary to document this information in case the matter needs to be taken up further.


When unchecked, negative attitudes threaten the stability of a workplace. Work is about cooperation, and once this ceases to exist then the functions of an organization are compromised. A good way to do away with negative habits is to delegate each member of staff specified duties so that they feel responsible and accountable. Furthermore, doing this gives each person a sense of value that enables him or her to perform optimally for the good of the organization.

Image Source: TIGERS Success Series

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