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Monday, April 8, 2013

Both Attitude and Behavior Change Are Key to Success

Attitude and behavior are closely related in some sense though they are two different concepts. One of the most important differences between behavior and attitude is that attitude is internal whereas behavior is external in sense. In other words it can be said that behavior can very well be seen by others as it is external whereas attitude is shelled within the mind of the individual and hence cannot be seen by others immediately.

Several situations within the office affect attitude and behavior. For an employee to consistently display good behavior in the workplace, he must maintain a positive attitude towards his job. If your employee develops a dislike for his job, he might lose interest in his assignments or lack motivation. These negative feelings influence his behaviors and might trigger low productivity. In addition, an employee's negative attitude can become evident with other actions, such as poor performance, regularly staying away from work, poor business ethics and perhaps favoring one supervisor over another. To the contrary, employees who feel respected by you and other coworkers, and those who maintain a good attitude, typically respond differently and exhibit appropriate behavior in the workplace.

Leadership behavior plays a very important role in enhancing employee job satisfaction, work motivation and work performance. The major type of supervisory behavior that has been identified as influencing work motivation and performance include positive achievement behavior and the behavior that is expected to lead to dissatisfaction include authoritarian or arbitrary and punitive behavior

We tend to assume that people behave in accordance with their attitudes. However, social psychologists have found that attitudes and actual behavior are not always perfectly aligned. In some cases, people may actually alter their attitudes in order to better align them with their behavior.

Behaviors are much easier to change than attitudes. When we focus on attitudes, we are setting ourselves and our employees up for failure because even if they sincerely want to change, they don’t have anything tangible to work on. Once we’ve clarified the behaviors that we want to eliminate or see more of, it is relatively easy to set performance expectations, and measurement becomes a matter of whether the behavior did or did not happen.

Some managers I’ve worked with don’t want to move past attitudes to focus on behaviors. They will argue that if the employee doesn’t have the “right” attitude, then they can’t be successful. While attitudes can have a powerful effect on behavior, they are not set in stone. The same influences that lead to attitude formation can also create attitude change.

In order to have meaningful change we have to change both attitude and behavior together. Change in thinking will lead to behavioral change. Alternatively, change in actions will eventually lead to changes in attitude. This combined approach provides the most success by providing positive thinking with the right methodology to implement and sustain change.

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