Your attitude stinks! You’re fired!


Hold on there. Can you fire someone because you don’t like their attitude?


Of course, if you ask your employment lawyer, you won’t get a “yes” or “no” answer. You might get “yes you can, but…” or “no you can’t, unless…”. Using full sentences might be “yes you can but prepare to be sued” or “no you can’t unless you can prove that the employee’s attitude made it such that they did not perform their duties and responsibilities at an acceptable level”.


Even then the reason for employment termination would be the non-performance, not the attitude.


But wait a minute, many man managers complain about employee attitude because they observe behavior that is easily described as bad attitude (demeanor, posture, mindset, mentality, mood, tone, etc.).


At Perfecting Employee Performance (PEP), we use attitude as one of our performance metrics. As with all performance metrics and competencies, we have defined what we mean with the following.



Demonstrates positivity by affirming those aspects of the work to be done that are beneficial to the Company, its employees, and its customers. Helps others demonstrate positivity. Is cooperative with all levels of employees. Demonstrates and tolerates nothing less than complete integrity and forthrightness. Stimulates teamwork in others.



This definition puts “attitude” into a context that can be communicated by a manager to an employee so that the employee knows clearly what how they are expected to perform their work. The manager uses this to coach employees who do not demonstrate the stated behaviors.


When a manager labels an employee has having a bad attitude, the manager is abdicating responsibility for coaching that employee. not capable articulating what is really meant.  


People Management

Establishes meaningful and achievable goals for employees so that they know what is expected of them.  Communicates and reinforces behavior competencies so that employees know how they are to perform their jobs.  Motivates employees to meet or exceed performance measures.  Finds creative and innovative ways to sustain performance. Develops employee capabilities and provides opportunities for employees to grow in their capacities. Coaches employees by providing frequent instructive feedback and listening to input from employees.


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