Share this content

HR tip: Bad attitude at work?

19th Nov 2009
Share this content

These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


One of our employees has a poor attitude to work. He makes mistakes and is frequently critical of management, especially in meetings. He has done nothing seriously wrong, so what can we do?


First I suggest that you sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with the man. Try to discover if something is bothering him. If it is something at work, see if you can do anything to help but, if you cannot, explain the situation. If something outside work is bothering him, try to offer advice or direct him towards someone who can help, for example a financial adviser or marriage guidance counsellor. Explain that, although you may have sympathy for him, nevertheless he must work to a high standard and not criticise management. Regardless of the outcome of your conversation, if he continues to make mistakes you must ascertain as best you can whether this is the result of incapability (can’t do) or misconduct (won’t do), and apply your capability or disciplinary procedure respectively. Criticising management is a serious offence and should be dealt with firmly through your disciplinary procedure.

View all our HR tips:

Replies (2)

Please login or register to join the discussion.

By danrerwin
19th Nov 2009 12:49

Bad attitudes and toxic emotions typically result in poor performance and lowered morale.  One of the real problems with them is that they are highly unpredictable.  That makes coaching more difficult.  Here's my blog on the same subject.

Thanks (0)
By Duncanchandler
26th Nov 2009 16:03

An interesting article, its always interesting when a manager says so and so has a bad attitude, its a very nebulous term that does not help the employee to improve.

It also is a touch paper to some employees "what do you mean i've got a bad attitude!"

I have always recommended to managers to avoid using this expression and be specific about the behaviour that is the problem and what good behavoir will look like. This has had more impact in terms of getting an improved standard of performance.

What do others think?

Thanks (0)