Dealing With Idiots At Work
Also known as ID-10-T
Why can idiots at work drive away your best employees? How do you
describe a person with a bad or negative attitude? Can you do
anything about it? Stop and ask your self these questions and do they
affect you and your work team?
More than likely they are present in your work environment and
whether the idiot disturbs you or not, they are most likely
disturbing someone on the team. If you are the manager and your
natural style is not bothered by theirs, your common reaction is to
simply ignore the situation, and tell the others to simply ignore
them and forget about it. This is quite possibly the worst thing a
leader can do, yet it happens all of the time. By doing nothing about
it you are endorsing the behavior (in essence rewarding it) and
hurting the better people on the team. After enough of this, the
better people will become frustrated and begin looking elsewhere for
employment. Yeah that strategy really works.
Let’s stop and analyze negative attitudes and negative
Before you can stop and analyze the negative attitude or behavior
take out a blank sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle. On the
top of the right column, write a heading "Positive
Attitudes," and on the top of the left column, write a
heading "Negative Attitudes." Beginning with the right
column, write down the characteristics and behaviors you notice of
those who possess a positive attitude. This should be easy. Your list
will likely include increased team morale, increased productivity,
less absenteeism, less gossip among many others. Go ahead and do this
Next, you will do the same in the left column with the negative
attitudes. If you are like most people, among others, this column
will include the opposite of what you have in the right column.
This probably does not surprise you does it?
The real secret is to do this with a group, and the most effective
way is to split the group into half. Separate them into two different
rooms before you start. Do not tell them about the exercise until
they are in separate rooms.
Give one group the positive and the other group the negative. Be
sure and not let on that the other group has the opposite. This works
exceptionally well if each group has a large flip chart to write down
the responses. When they have completed the exercise which should
take no more than 15 minutes, bring them together and have a spoke
person from each group read off what they have written down. What do
you think will happen when they come back together?
The true secret to any exercise is the debriefing. Don’t skim
over this part, and don’t worry if it takes as much as 30-45
minutes. Getting everyone’s input about the meaning of this
benefits the entire team including those who are already positive.
If possible, after the debriefing post both the negative and
positive comments on a wall where everyone can see them. The
reminder factor is amazing. Also do not be afraid to bring the
topic back up at regular staff meetings. The more you discuss
attitudes and behaviors the more effective the communication among
the team will become. As communication improves so does productivity
and when productivity increases whining and bad attitudes decrease.
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