Many people's initial reaction to a coworker with a bad attitude is to shrug him off and continue working to the best of your abilities. What many overlook, however, is that what might seem to be one "bad apple" can quickly turn into a serious problem. When bad attitudes are present in the workplace, it is important to correct -- or eliminate -- them before they begin to take their toll on coworkers, management and the overall well-being of the company.
Poor Company Morale
It is difficult for otherwise content staff members to maintain positive attitudes when forced to work alongside coworkers who have bad ones. For example, if one or two employees are continually complaining, arguing or whining about the establishment, it creates an unpleasant and distracting work environment. Constant aggravations by managers or coworkers with bad attitudes can create a workplace atmosphere so awkward and uncomfortable that the overall morale of the establishment suffers significantly.
Unfortunately, a poor attitude can spread like an infectious disease throughout a company. Many times, when a worker has a bad attitude, it doesn't necessarily mean he is not liked by his peers. When employees who are not disgruntled listen to constant daily complaints of dissatisfaction from friends in the workplace, they sometimes jump right on the bandwagon and display an unfavorable attitude themselves.
When more than one bad attitude and poor company morale exist within a corporation, there is a good chance that cliques will form. Groups of employees take sides against one another -- or against management -- and work as rivals rather than as a unit. Such instances generally are accompanied by gossip, hurt feelings and the dissolution of team spirit among coworkers.
Employees with bad attitudes often perform at a level far below their potential and generally contribute minimally to team productivity. When an entire workplace is affected by a coworker -- or several coworkers -- with poor attitudes, it is inevitable that the company will experience a considerable reduction in productivity. Workers who are distracted by office dramas, gossip and disruptions, or are just plain unhappy, do not always work to their full capacity.
In the long run, allowing one bad attitude to exist in the workplace leads to another, and another. Once morale is down, cliques are formed, animosities are built up and productivity is suffering, it's usually never long until business on a whole starts going downhill. Most consumers don't favor paying for substandard services and inferior products, and associates prefer not to do business with partners who have few positive feelings about the corporations that employ them. Ultimately, the spread of bad attitudes in the workplace leads to an unfavorable reputation and significant loss of business and profit.
Michelle Renee is a professional trainer and quality assurance consultant in the career, education and customer service industries, with two decades of experience in food/beverage and event coordinating management. Renee has been published by Lumino and Career Flight as well as various food, education and business publications.