I'm in a puzzling situation and I could use some advice. Under my supervision is a small group of four team members whose job is primarily assisting co-workers and clients.  As we're in a fast-paced, high energy environment, moods tend to get passed along like colds.. frequently.

One of my DRs is the type of person who is very focused on identifying problems, but instead of using that skill to find solutions, will instead get in a poor mood that is infectious to everyone.  Numerous staff members have commented on this DR's attitude and we have had client complaints as well.  As none of the complaints are specific other than the normal, "was rude," "snapped," "angry," I'm at a loss with how to address this with my DR in a productive way.

Snooping around the forums, I've seen that generally addressing "attitude" is a recipe for disaster.  I've only recently begun to supervise this group (taking over from a poor manager and bad situation prior) and I've been working with the four of them to harness their energy into finding solutions, not problems.   I'm just at a loss as to how to properly deal with this DRs mood, but it's something that certainly needs to stop.

Any advice as to how I can help this situation and not make it worse?

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 If you haven't done already listen to the Manager Tools Basics casts on One-On-Ones, Feedback, Coaching and how to roll them out.  After that I think the first step is that when someone comes to you and says something about this direct's attitude, ask them specific questions to find out what actually happened and what the direct actually did to make them make that judgement.  You may also want to try to observe the direct's behaviour yourself, this may be difficult and take some time as if you're not usually sitting with them the direct may moderate their behaviour when you're around.

Once you know what he's actually doing and you're rolling out adjusting feedback you can specifically address those behaviours to give feedback and coaching on changing them to more effective behaviours.  From what you describe some customer service coaching would probably be in order for this direct.  Take a listen to the casts on Coaching Directs on Interpersonal Skills (Part 1 and Part 2)

 A big problem with 'attitude' is that, whilst you can list behaviours that someone with a particular attitude is likely to exhibit, you cannot precisely define an accurate list.  Also attitude is often in the eye of the beholder.  What to one person may seem 'rude' may be 'a bit robust but OK' to another and 'perfectly normal, maybe even a bit restrained' to yet another.  It depends on background and experience, some workplaces are much more 'robust' than others. 




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