- February 5, 2014
- Posted by: Paul Foster
- Category: Business Communication Skills, Improving Communication in Business
When a business has employees with bad attitudes it’s no fun for anyone. If the boss doesn’t care, it’s even worse. Wouldn’t it be valuable to understand the how and why this poisonous situation sneaks into a business?
We know from first hand experience that the vast majority of owners and employees do care. Some of them used to care a great deal, but have become frustrated. But it takes energy to care about the business. It saps your energy when you try to care about the business and your efforts are frustrated.
Show me an employee that seems like they don’t care about the business and nine times out of ten, they are an employee who used to care, still wants to care, but for whatever circumstance they became worn down trying and just gave up fight.
How many times should they make the effort only to be disappointed one more time?
Once this ‘bad attitude’ gets seeded in the business, it can easily spread and poison others. There is a lot of truth to the saying, “one bad apple can spoil the bunch.”
We painted a bleak picture of doom and gloom to make a point. There is good reason to be optimistic and hopeful that everyone at your business is capable of caring a lot more than it seems. The majority of businesses we visit are reasonably happy and productive. It doesn’t happen by magic, or in an instant, and it evolves as a result of other efforts. We think the root of this problem lies in poor communication.
An effort to improve communication and other soft skills in yourself and your workplace will result in improved attitudes and more teamwork.
A great and almost unbelievable story of major attitude changes comes from the NUMMI plant in California in the 1980’s. This plant re-opened as a joint venture between Toyota and GM in 1984. The plant, closed by GM in 1982, had a workforce described as “the worst performing in the auto industry in the U.S.A.”
The joint venture rehired the majority of the same union workers with bad attitudes and almost immediately started producing top quality cars. It was a focus on Japanese methods and managing communication skills that was the catalyst. Communication, respect, and teamwork across the entire operation – from top management to the factory floor.
This story is a great example of what is possible. It also reminds us of the responsibility of owners and managers in any business to take the lead on improving the communication across the workforce.