Fixing a bad attitude

Published on Apr 28, 2021 by Matthew Bud, The FENG
Human Interactions

w often have you heard it said “He has a bad attitude?”

We spend a lot of time addressing the bad attitudes of others. For example, discussions about age discrimination fall into this category. The world has a “bad attitude” toward those of us who are well experienced. (Over qualified.)

Whether it is the world at large, or even ourselves, a lot of time is wasted trying to address “bad attitudes.” The truth is that attitudes (good or bad) are difficult to change.

Early in my career I was part of a management group that worked with a psychologist on a regular basis. The approach he suggested was to stop trying to change the attitudes of others and instead change their behaviors.

I would, for example, never try to dissuade members of the search community about their desire to hire “young Turks” for their clients. I only ask them to send me position descriptions for your reading pleasure. I don’t tell them nor do I discuss with them that the majority of responses will be from those who have “been there, and done that,” not from those early in their career. If I brought it up, I would have to sell them on my logic that all of you represent a veritable gold mine. (And, what would be the odds that they would believe me?)

Instead, all I have done is get them to perform a behavior. They send in a posting, 25-50 or so qualified members send them responses and no one is the wiser. After a while, the response I get back is “What a wonderful group you have. So many qualified individuals.”

You see we never discussed their bad attitude. I only focused on trying to change their behaviors with regard to where they search for qualified candidates.

When it comes to our own personal attitudes, it is also difficult to change. I once again would ask you to focus on behaviors.

The cry I hear so often is how difficult it is to make phone calls. Well, I am not going to try to tell you that making phone calls is easy. What I am going to tell you is that if you make 20 calls a day to members of The FENG or any other networking contacts you drum up on your own, you will eventually find a job.

The reason is simple. The math is on my side.

You may still believe that you find making phone calls difficult. Attitudes are hard to change. But, the truth will probably be quite different based on anyone’s independent evaluation of your performance. After making 20 calls a day, say for a month or more, you will in fact get very good at it, and you may in fact find you enjoy it.

All I have to do is encourage you to perform the behavior and bit by bit your attitude will change. You will shortly come to the realization that, doggone it, you aren’t half bad at this networking thing. (Where is that phone so I can make more calls?)

So, visit our website and give our Member Directory Search tool a real workout.

If you have to, do it if for no other reason than to prove I am wrong.

Regards, Matt