What’s an Attitude? How do I get one?

What’s an Attitude?
How do I get one?
Define attitude.
 Types of attitude.
 What influences attitude.
 Coping with those with an attitude different
than your own.
By Definition
A complex mental state involving beliefs
and feelings and values and dispositions
to act in certain ways.
(Princeton University)
There’s more…
(1)The arrangement of the parts of the
body posture; (2a)a mental position with
regard to a fact or state (b) a feeling or
emotion toward a fact or state; (3) an
organismic state of readiness to respond
in a characteristic way to a stimulus (as an
object, concept or situation).
(Merriam-Webster’s Medical Desk
Dictionary, 3rd Edition)
And Still More…
(1) Position of the body and limbs. (2)
Manner of acting. (3) Social or clinical
psychology-a relatively stable and
enduring predisposition to behavior or
react in a certain way toward people,
objects, institutions, or issues.
(Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, 28th Edition)
For today/our definition
A virus that can be contagious.
 Has a needleless cure.
 Can be modified, the easy or the hard
 Has identifiable strands/warning signs.
Bad Strands of the Attitude
The Tea Pot: blows his lid.
The Mr./Ms. Universe: wields quality like a weapon.
The Resistant Strand: threatened by change.
The Not-My-Jobber: narrow views block .progress.
The Rumor Monger: spreads stories everywhere.
The Uncommitted: simply does not care.
Chicken Little: always expects the sky to fall.
(adapted from Curing Negativity in the
Workplace, 2nd Edition)
Additional No-Name Strands
Not a team player
 Does the minimum
 Disrespectful
 Insubordinate
 Always negative
 Unhappy
 Pessimistic
 Unpleasant
Additional Strands (con’t)
Offers no solutions
Clock Watcher
Prima donna
Additional Strands (con’t)
Work to Rule
 Abrasive
 Rude
 Confrontational
 Disruptive
 Inflexible
 Sarcastic
(de Jager, 2005)
Erosion of team spirit.
 Morale suffers, feelings get hurt
 Poor quality service, reputation suffers
 Frustration on the part of others because
they have to pick up the slack
 The virus spreads
 Communication suffers
More Consequences
Productivity suffers
 Management has to crack down because
of perceived dissatisfaction, paranoia
(Peter deJager is a keynote speaker on
Change Management issues)
The Good News
Attitudes may either influence behaviors,
or be influenced by behaviors.
The Bad News
There is no pill.
The Official Theories on Attitudinal
Change (Vaccines)
Persuasive Communication Works
 Balance Theory
 Cognitive Consistency
 Cognitive Dissonance
 Planned Behavior
 Congruity Theory
Persuasive Communication
Changes in attitudes can result in the
absence or presence of rewards.
 Acceptance or resistance to an attitude or
opinion is dependent on the
incentives/rewards that are offered in
communication with those involved.
(Hovland, Janis & Kelly, 1953)
Balance Theory
When beliefs are unbalanced, the is a
disruption in equilibrium of a system and
then pressure to change attitudes.
 The two main factors that affect balance
are sentiment (liking, approving, admiring)
and unity (similarity, proximity,
(Heider, 1958)
People will try to maintain consistency
among their beliefs and make changes
when this does not occur.
(Abelson, 1968)
Attitude change is caused by conflict
among beliefs.
Planned Behavior
Attitudes influence behavior along with two
other factors:
- Perceptions of social norms
- Beliefs about one’s personal ability to perform
a specific behavior.
(Diclemente and Crosby, 2002)
Congruity Theory
Assumes attitudes are simplistic and tend
toward extremes (proven false).
 Assumes that if a liked and disliked object
become related, the feeling toward both
will become more neutral.
(Osgood and Tannen, 1960)
Creating a Positive Attitude in the
Workplace (Vaccine)
Lead/teach/support by example-be a new
positive cure.
For yourself or others, your voice, both internal
and external needs to be that of an antibody.
Don’t support or listen to whining (Mount Serat
Try to find the positive for everyone.
Dump the drama-all it does is sell copies (or in
this case, spread the germ).
Creating a Positive Attitude in
the Workplace
Recognize, support and teach quarantine
procedures (time-out).
 Discourage retro-virus submission (live in
the now-Alice in Wonderland Analogy).
 Promote anti-viral acknowledgements (list
the 10 best things about working here)
 Take your vitamins (get pumped up).
 Smile and be happy (you did not need a
TIPS for Improving Your Own
Don’t associate with people who have
hostile attitudes, you might get infected
(water and vinegar analogy).
 Remember other patients (coworkers).
 Practice optimism and positive self-talk
(inner voice).
 Dwell on positives.
 Maintain perspectives/choose battles
Tips (con’t)
Give others the benefit of the doubt.
 Become a problem-solver.
 Be alert.
 Utilize self-control.
 Mange stress.
 Stay physically healthy
 Empathize
Job Tips
Look for creative ways to make tasks more
 Try sharing or trading tasks-tedium v.
 Ask for more responsibilities.
 Adjust your schedule to best mange
 Look for a alternatives.
What Can EAP Counselors Do?
Educate regarding appropriate attitude
 Teach by coaching, role play
 Provide positive reinforcement
 Help identify triggers to the “attitude” and
help with coping skills to combat the
What Can You Do?
1. First and foremost-be honest with yourself.
2. Recognize warning signs (negative thoughts,
blaming behavior, pessimism).
3. Use positive affirmations.
4. Visualize your day before it begins.
5. Write down your goals.
6. Put your head in the game and focus.
What Can You Do? (con’t)
7. Think about a successful person you
8. Avoid naysayers who shoot you down.
9. Practice, practice, practice.
Diclemente, R. J., and Crosby, R.A. (2002) The Gale Group Inc.,
Macmillan Reference USA, New York, Gale Encyclopedia of Public Health,
www.crmlearning.com; Attitude Virus: Curing Negativity in the Workplace,
Brandi, J. (2007). Creating a Positive Employee Attitude in the Workplace.
The Sideroad. Ontario: Blue Boulder Internet Publishing.
Abelson, R. (1968). Theories of Cognitive Consistency Theory. Chicago:
Rand McNally.
Heider, F. (1959). The Psychology of Interpersonal Relations. New York:
Hovland, C., Janis, I., & Kelley, H. (1953). Communication and Persuasion.
New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Triandis, H. (1971). Attitude and Attitude Change. New York: Wiley.
De Jager, P. (2005). The Consequence of Attitude. www.technobility.com.