CHICAGO—One of the biggest issues managers deal with today are employees with “bad attitudes.” And one of the biggest mistakes managers make is trying to manage the attitude rather than the employee’s performance, according to Mike Deblieux, a human resources consultant who spoke on Thursday at the American College of Cardiovascular Administrators meeting in Chicago.
Many terms used by managers such as “bad attitude” and “team player” are too vague to really define a problem or initiate a solution. Managers need to define problems in regards to performance, Deblieux said.
Performance standards are set when employees are hired. Other expectations are written in the hospital or facility policy. If the employee is habitually late, for example, then that is what needs to be addressed because it is part of hospital policy.
How should managers approach the employee? Always with the notion that it is their job to help the employee succeed.
Effective managers do not take a counseling approach, which is to “suggest” actions. Instead, they adopt a coaching model, which is a two-way discussion about getting an employee to perform properly, and also helps maintain trust.
The coaching model starts with defining the expectation: “I want to talk to you about being on time each morning so we can begin procedures on time for the benefit of our patients and medical staff.”
Managers then need to ask if the employee understands that this is an important part of their job. The problem can’t be fixed if the employee doesn’t acknowledge there is a problem, Deblieux said.
The next step is to explore alternative behaviors to correct the problem. Ask the employee to make a list of things he or she can do to get to work on time. All alternatives should be explored no matter how seemingly implausible. The ones that don’t work can be discarded in a professional manner.
The manager then asks the employee to commit to act on a solution and finishes by asking him to summarize the steps he will take to solve the problem.
Maintaining trust is key. Work together to identify the cause and symptoms of the problem, according Deblieux. Work together to decide how to prevent the problem in the future.
A survey of 12,000 employees revealed that the No. 1 thing employees want from their manager is for the manager to be involved in figuring out how to do the job. “The key to employee success is collaboration,” Deblieux said.