A Bad Day or a Lousy Attitude?

Everyone has a bad day now and then, but there’s a cumulative effect for people who seem to have more than their fair share of bad days. At what point are the bad days an excuse for a bad attitude? We can make exceptions for bad days, but when most days are bad days, it’s time to re-evaluate. 

A few years ago, I worked with someone who always had drama going on in her life that she would bring to work. It seemed if she didn’t have drama, she would manufacture some. We all felt compassion for her situation(s) but, after a while, realized we were all making concessions for undesirable behavior. She would snap at others, get angry, and storm out of a room. 

Be Open

What do you do when bad days become bad behavior? Just becoming aware and curious is a good first step. Next, have a conversation and ask questions like, “How can we support you while still making sure we are at our best?”

Offer EAP if available. If not, have a one-to-one discussion to suggest professional help if needed. Let her know that you and the team care about her and the situation and that you would be happy to talk with her at lunch, during break, or after work. 

Be Specific

Be prepared to share specific examples. In this case, the team member would come into work and, after the morning huddle, share her problems with the group, going into long, drawn-out details about her personal problems. It was not unusual for 15 minutes to go by. When you multiply the number of people, time, and salaries the loss is evident. 

When I pointed out the number of times in one week that we had spent listening, she was astonished. Again, I reminded her that we care and support her, yet we need to take care of business. 

We are all human and will have bad days. Sometimes, a gentle reminder to shift your mindset isn’t a bad thing. Compassion is essential, and so are boundaries. Share the kind truth to help redirect negativity. 

Are you ready to take on the difficult conversations that are required to be a great leader? Join us for our next cohort of Be the Leader Nobody Wants to Leave. In this eight-week comprehensive course, I help leaders at all levels master the qualities of great leadership. Join the next cohort today. Click here to learn more.  

Tags: ,

Subscribe to our Articles and stay up to date on leadership practices, employee engagement, retention, and service excellence.

Submit your information below to start receiving our Baird Group articles.