Well…you do. Your boss doesn’t like your attitude. And that’s a problem. (-;
Even if YOU don’t think there’s anything wrong with your attitude, the fact that your boss is singling this out means you need to pay attention…and probably take action. Something is not right and he’s letting you know. Although sometimes words like this are just words and nothing else, many times they are clues that your job – or at least any rosy future with the company – may be in jeopardy. I say this not to scare you, but just to make sure that you don’t wait to find out.
So what should you do? This is a good time to politely ask your boss for a chance to talk with him (or her) in private. You want to find out exactly what “attitude problem” means to him, since people have different ideas of that often-used phrase. You need to know the things you say or do that make him think this way about you. And then you need to ask for his guidance on how to improve things.
It’s important to be respectful in this meeting and listen carefully – even if you disagree. Try to understand where he’s coming from. If you remain open, you might even hear something you never realized before that can actually help. And be sure to ask him to explain anything that isn’t clear, letting him know you are really serious about trying to turn things around.
Before you leave, it might be especially helpful if you and he agree on a few goals for you. (Assuming he sees that as useful, of course. You can’t push this too hard in a meeting about your attitude!) And then, make sure you send a polite e-mail thanking him, stating any goals you came up with together, and asking him to let you know if he has any changes to what you wrote or further suggestions. This not only helps you know what’s expected of you, but it also documents the discussion…just in case.
Just be careful that the goals are reasonable, such as “I will do my best not to swear at my boss any more” rather than “I will triple my output and never ever make a mistake.” “I will do my best” or “I will work to improve” is better wording since anyone can slip up and you don’t want to be agreeing to something in writing that puts you in a worse situation!
Reasonable goals are a good way to get back in step with what your boss and the company expects of you. But most important is your own decision to commit to a more positive attitude, and that includes respecting your co-workers and looking for ways to help make things better on the job for everyone – rather than, for example, just focusing on yourself and/or whining about everything that’s wrong without also offering good solutions.
Usually an improved attitude and showing that you’re trying will go far toward building a better place for yourself in the company. And quite honestly, it will also go far in helping you enjoy your job more. Things will start to lighten up a bit as your own attitude lightens up.
Just check in on occasion with your boss and see how you’re doing. You might still need to adjust course a bit, but that’s cool as long as your boss sees you’re making real progress.
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Although I had to stop answering individual questions (to preserve my sanity), as always your thoughts and stories are VERY welcome here.