“That Tech has a bad attitude.” 

“I don’t like the attitude of our bookkeeper!” 

“What’s wrong with the attitude of our dispatcher?”

Bad attitudes are everywhere, or so it would appear. In most cases, it is based on nothing other than your opinion. 

An opinion, by the way, that is colored by your attitude toward others. In fact, my new favorite saying is, “I see what I believe,” not the old (and incorrect) saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” That’s probably always been true.

But now with CGI (computer generated imagery), email that looks legit but is not, and a whole lot of other deceptive things out there, can you really trust your eyes or even your ears? No.  

Most of us are smarter now about not trusting our initial reaction to these tricks that seek to deceive and mislead us. But, we do see the world through our filters and that leads to judging things using a subjective versus objective method. Which means: What we tell ourselves and the opinions we’ve formed, may not be all true.

What makes this a trap — particularly for owners and bosses — is we’re quick to judge. It’s what we do. We compare people to some fictional version of how we think we were when we did their work. The part we leave out is that our “vision” of ourselves, especially as times goes by, changes — which is akin to the fish growing larger every time the fish story is told!

No, you couldn’t put a water heater in by yourself in one hour. Nor could you install a new heating system by yourself in two hours. You didn’t carry that giant hot tub up four flights of stairs by yourself and install it in an hour, either. And when you were up to your elbows in grunge on a job, or a customer groused at you, you may have come back to the office a little grumpy, too! 

No, you couldn’t do the payroll, enter the invoices and take new phone calls while working in the field all at the same time. 

So, if you’re judging your staff on the attitudes you perceive, stop it because attitude is only your perception of how someone behaves. It’s not necessarily how they are behaving. You don’t get to control people’s attitudes as if you were blessed with mind control skills. What’s going on in their mind and in their life is not your business.  


What is your business

How they behave at your business — which affects how they do their work and how they interact with others, and most importantly, your customers, at your company — is your business.  

That is what you’re looking to identify and coach people on.

Rather than focusing on “attitudes,” focus on evaluating people based on their demonstrated and observed behaviors. Behavior is the only thing you can reward and discipline staff on. And your ability to observe and evaluate behavior is tied directly to your ability to do the following:

  1. Using written resources (that have been explained) as the benchmark to measure doing the right thing, which is the right behavior;
  2. Doing ride-alongs with techs in the field on a consistent basis so they can revert to their normal routine and expose what they’re doing out there all the time with both their good and bad behaviors;
  3. Doing side-by-sides with inside staff often enough to observe them slipping into their normal way of work that reveals once again their good and bad behaviors;
  4. Recording phone calls the right way so your CSRs can hear what they actually sound like, what they’re saying and how they’re saying it;
  5. There needs to be a system of WIIFMs (What’s In It For Me) tied to good behavior, meaning what do I get if I do something good, as well as something tied to bad behavior, meaning what happens to me if I do something wrong; and
  6. Formalizing steps of discipline for when there’s been an observed action that means bad behavior occurred. The steps of discipline are designed for management to step in early, correct bad behavior and return those who have strayed to the right path.

Switch to addressing your staff’s observed behaviors and let go of the broken method of paying attention to attitudes. Then, watch your company get better. 

You’re bound to see less “bad attitudes” and more “better behaviors.”