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Attitude in the Workplace: Why is it important?

a photo of 3 grocery employees working together with the right attitude

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Attitude in the workplace can influence a company’s productivity and even its reputation and culture. We’ve all been there: we’ve had the manager whose great attitude made working for them a breeze, or the coworker whose poor attitude made every piece of work more difficult. When poor attitudes are the norm, an environment can become toxic to work in, which can result in high employee turnover and dissatisfaction. But the opposite is true, as well. Great attitudes can help employees persevere through tough times and overcome unexpected hurdles.

With COVID-19 making work-life balance more challenging for everyone, it’s more necessary than ever for business owners and managers to focus on fostering the right attitudes. Below, we explain how attitude in the workplace can affect the way a business operates. We also suggest ways you can improve the attitude of your workers and keep employee productivity and engagement high.

The Difference Between Mood and Attitude

But first, let’s define what we mean by attitude and how it differs from a mood. For the purposes of this discussion, a mood is something that a person carries with them on an intermittent basis. It’s not an everyday thing; it’s an occasional thing. When someone is in a good mood, it can lift the moods of people around them. Conversely, bad moods can bring other members of the work team down. With moods, however, the effects on others are usually temporary.

When it comes to someone’s attitude, it’s more of a mindset. People with certain attitudes tend to carry those attitudes with them wherever they go. The right attitude can have a long-term positive effect on other employees and managers. Conversely, a person with the wrong kind of attitude can drag others down and keep them down.

How the COVID Pandemic Has Changed the Workplace

Even today, the business world is still operating on unfamiliar ground. It’s been close to a year since COVID-19 brought businesses everywhere to an abrupt halt, and we’re all still feeling the impacts. Depending on the industry you’re in, you may be dealing with fewer on-site staff or higher rates of employee turnover. Many employees are still juggling multiple responsibilities at home. In the midst of the pandemic, it can be difficult to maintain a positive outlook at times.

Simultaneously, more and more cities and states around the US are considering – or will be implementing – additional COVID-19 laws and fair workweek laws this year. These laws place extra burdens on business owners and managers, both in terms of paperwork and financial responsibility toward staff. So in some ways, business is more stressful for business owners and managers, too.

No matter what’s causing the stress, the key is to maintain the right attitude in the workplace, especially over the long term. This is because attitude can have a strong effect on productivity.

How Attitude in the Workplace Can Influence the Team’s Productivity

Businesses depend on having a productive workforce. Given the challenges teams are facing because of COVID-19 and changing regulations, it’s important that everyone comes to work with a good attitude. If they don’t, it’s a fair bet that the business will suffer in some way.

On the other hand, when employees maintain the right attitude in the workplace, it creates energy. The kind of energy that can motivate an entire team to work faster, smarter, and more efficiently.

Here are a number of ways that good attitudes can help a team succeed:

  • Increase productivity from each worker
  • Create more teamwork
  • Improve overall morale
  • Create higher retention among the staff
  • Improve camaraderie
  • Increase creativity among employees
  • Motivate staff to overcome adversity

Of course, we would be remiss to not mention how negative attitudes might adversely affect your company. Here are some of the things that could go wrong:

  • Quality of work product decreases
  • Employee turnover increases
  • Staff members go out of their way to avoid negative coworkers, making teamwork difficult
  • Customer service and engagement suffer
  • Becomes difficult to get employees to come together to deal with obstacles

Solving Attitude Issues

Now that you have a better understanding of the importance of attitude in the workplace, how do you foster the right attitudes among your team? There are two main ways you can turn a negative work environment into a positive work environment in the near term.

First, you can take steps to identify and decrease negativity. If an employee is having a difficult time, a friendly talk and some encouragement might solve the problem. At the very least, it can help you understand what the employee is dealing with, so that you can offer solutions that work both for you (the business) and for them. If, on the other hand, a team member is walking around with a constant chip on their shoulder, you may have a bigger problem to deal with. You will want to monitor the employee’s progress and take steps to intervene if the negativity becomes blatant and starts affecting other members of the team. If a satisfactory resolution cannot be reached, you might have to take disciplinary action that includes dismissal.

The second way you can change the overall morale of the team is to use positive reinforcement to encourage the right attitudes. As a manager, you can bolster employees’ morale by offering praise where it’s due, providing rewards in the form of perks, and sharing credit for accomplishments. You should also lead by example and exemplify the qualities you want to see in your team. Once you get employees rolling with a good attitude, you will discover the workplace is a happier and healthier place for everyone who is working there. Fun team building activities can help foster camaraderie and maintain the momentum, too.

The Right Attitude in the Workplace can Move Mountains

There’s no mistaking the benefits of having employees with a good attitude in the workplace. They work faster, smarter, and provide a great customer experience. To move mountains, employees have to communicate and work as a team. But no one wants to be part of a team filled with negative energy and unconstructive criticism. Although the suggestions above focus on the near term, you should think about attitude as part of your long-term hiring strategy, as well. Instead of trying to fix employees’ attitude after you’ve hired them – try to hire people with the right attitudes to start. For tips on hiring better, we recommend starting with this post, which has some great advice.

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