Monday, June 1, 2009

A Firing Offense

An effective leader can tolerate poor work skills. He or she should not tolerate a bad attitude, even when the employee has great work skills.

That is the message Richard Randall wants managers to live by. He says that a manager can help an employee improve work skills, but is powerless to cure a bad attitude. If left to fester a bad attitude will infect your workplace and detract from your company's efficiency and effectiveness. Link here.

Bad attitude means putting Me first. Bad attitude means: taking too much unauthorized time off; being rude and disrespectful; being distracted and distracting; getting involved in dramatic confrontations with co-workers; being hostile and aggressive.

Randall uses a model to show the relationship between skills and attitude. It is worth outlining:

First, the person with high skills and good attitude. Evidently, this is ideal. Such employees are to be treasured.

Second, the person with low skills and good attitude. This person has potential and should be valued. Few people today bring a very good attitude to their jobs. Such people want to learn and to contribute. They are relatively easy to train.

Third, the person with low skills and bad attitude. Obviously, this is not a management challenge. Such a person should be sent packing.

Fourth, the person with high skills and bad attitude. Randall says that this person is the most difficult to manage. It is very difficult to give up on a person who is very good at his or her job.

And yet, Randall argues that keeping such a person and tolerating a bad attitude will eventually undermine group morale. Thus, he recommends that the person be fired.

All of which shows that you can get by, and that you can even thrive, with insufficient skills, but that your bad attitude will take you nowhere.

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