“I don’t have a bad attitude, I just have a personality that you can’t handle!” When I saw this on the back of a woman’s shirt at the store the other day, I couldn’t help but verbally and enthusiastically acknowledge, “That is so true!” She looked at me strangely, probably thinking the shirt would keep her out of discussion, not start them.
What is a bad attitude?
- Negative emotions displayed in a place or at a time where they are inappropriate?
- A shield or wall to keep people away?
- A mask for fear or lack of self-confidence?
- A feeling that no one understands where I’m coming from, nor do they care to find out?
- An honest but inappropriate lack of focus, prioritizing or caring about the situation at hand?
All of these could be accurate descriptions of what’s behind a bad attitude.
Your effectiveness at interacting with and leading others is dependent on your ability to find the person, the potential, the objections, the fears, the challenges and the disengagement behind the wall of “bad attitude”.
How many personalities are there that you can’t handle? That number is directly and inversely related to your success. There are personalities that I can’t handle – one of which is the personality that has absolutely no interest in self-development and improvement. The person believes so strongly that they are right, and although others may need to improve, they themselves do not.
However… I have not found many personalities like that. Most that appear that way are hiding something else, have built a very high wall, and no one has patiently worked hard enough to pull it down to find the willing person behind it.
It takes a lot of coaching conversations, accountability measures and supportive goal setting to work through bad attitudes. And there are times where the return on investment is not believed to be large enough to make it worth it.
Just be cautious. Next time you want to label someone with having a “bad attitude,” ask yourself as the leader if this is just a personality that YOU can’t handle.