Focus on Employee Behaviors to Get Results
by Marnie Green
We all have "attitude" problems. However, focusing on the attitude of an employee while trying to influence his/her work performance is a bad idea. The following is an excerpt from Painless Performance Evaluations: A Practical Approach to Managing Day to Day Employee Performance (2006). Please share these important ideas with the managers and supervisors in your organization to help them speak more confidently with employees about performance.
Many supervisors get stuck in performance-related discussions when they focus on an employee's attitude rather than behavior. Attitudes are the thoughts or feelings that underlie what the employee does on the job. Behaviors are the observable actions an employee takes when on the job. Effective supervisors discuss employee performance in behavioral terms, rather than mentioning attitudes. Here are examples of various behaviors and attitudes:
Attitudes vs. Behaviors
Enthusiastic vs. Completing work ahead of schedule
Neglectful vs. Violating a company policy
Laziness vs. Arriving to meetings 30 minutes late
Attention to detail vs. Submitting expense reports without errors or omissions
Difficult to get along with vs. Shouting loudly at a co-worker in the office
Initiative vs. Completing request before the expected deadline
Service-oriented vs. Answering the phone within three rings every time
Messy and/or Slovenly vs. Has trouble locating files promptly
Often supervisors will have a conversation with an employee without preparing for the discussion. When this happens, the discussion with the employee often becomes a "blame game" or loses focus. By preparing ahead of time and focusing on behaviors, you can ensure that the conversation will stay productive.
Discuss only specific, observable, behavioral examples of performance with employees and avoid mentioning the "A" word - attitude.
Marnie Green may be contacted at http://www.managementeducationgroup.com
Marnie E. Green is Principal Consultant of the Arizona-based Management Education Group, Inc. She is the author of Painless Performance Evaluations: A Practical Approach to Managing Day to Day Employee Performance (Pearson/Prentice Hall). Green is a speaker, author, and consultant who helps organizations develop leaders today for the workforce of tomorrow. Contact Green at http://www.managementeducationgroup.com