We’re on the theme of “bad attitude” this month. We’ve had extensive conversations about others’ bad attitudes and how their bad attitudes can cause major problems for us at work. But what if the “bad attitude” culprit is you? What if you’ve got the bad attitude? What can you do?


Your first step in dealing with your grumpiness is to figure out how you arrived in the land of “bad attitude.” It didn’t happen overnight. Bad attitudes usually form over time and they rarely come from one singular event. So ask yourself, does it come from one of these more common reasons:

  • Your boss – is your boss the reason for your bad attitude? Has he or she jerked you around, caused you daily headaches, and generally killed any enthusiasm you’ve ever had? The boss – a common cause of bad attitudes everywhere.
  • Your co-workers – perhaps the reason is your co-workers. Does it feel like you’ve entered middle school and are enjoying all the fun that accompanies adolescent backstabbing, politicking, cliques and overall hurtful behavior? Bad co-workers can be an attitude crusher for sure.
  • You lost the magic – did you lose your passion and fulfillment for what you do? Maybe you never had it and that’s the problem. Regardless, having an empty hole where there should be a spark can end in a bad attitude.
  • Burn-out – too much. Is your bad attitude a result of just too much for too long without a breather, a break or any help? In this economy, two thumbs down for this all-too-common attitude disintegrator.

What’s it costing you?

Grab a handy piece of paper and jot down what the costs might be if your attitude doesn’t turn from the dark side. Consider the following significant costs:

  • Reputation / Brand? Are you getting to be known as the one with the “Bad Attitude?” It takes a long time to turn those around. Be careful. A “rep” can form overnight and take years to overcome.
  • Relationships? Are your co-workers and your boss fighting with you more often… or worse, are they beginning to steer clear of you? This could hurt your ability to be effective, be a part of the team and may even mean they are preparing to “invite you to leave.”
  • Promotions / Opportunities? Are you at risk of losing future opportunities because of your bad attitude today? No one wants to be stuck. Be careful.

Turning from the Dark Side

There are two good paths for turning around one’s attitude. Consider dipping from both to ensure a proper inoculation.

1. Reconnect with your vision for your career / life – Bad attitudes are about the “here and now.” One way to counter your bad attitude is to begin to think about your career plan. What’s next and what would bring you enjoyment in your career? Fulfillment and meaning can be a cure for any bad attitude. Consider the following:

    • What’s your vision for your career? Do you have a plan on where you want to go over the next several years? Get one. For more, see this post on setting inspirational goals.
    • What’s your purpose for your career and life? This is such an important topic that I spent two entire months on it! Consider some of these 5 questions to help you get there.

2. Recharge your batteries – You probably aren’t good to anyone right now (including yourself) until you recharge your batteries. Consider some of these good strategies for getting your mojo back:

    • Vacation – There is an art and science to vacationing. Picking the right format can be just what the doctored ordered. Choosing poorly can leave you in worse shape (if that’s possible). For more on vacationing, go here.
    • Rest – Are you getting the proper rest you need? Shoot for 7 hours – anything less and you may be actually dealing with an exhaustion problem more than an actual attitude problem. Let’s see what we are really dealing with. Shoot for a good “catch up” night of sleep ASAP.
    • The right people – are you hanging with the right people? The right crowd recharges your batteries. The wrong crowd drains you. Get together with you peeps, ASAP for regular nights out (or at least one).
    • Hobbies – Is there anything else that might get you charged up and give you energy? Exercise, woodwork, scrapbooking, golf, collecting Hummel figurines, etc… Reconnect with the things that get you excited and see if you start feeling better.

And of course, there’s always medication, but before we start messing with your body chemistry I prefer that we start with less extreme options. Then again, if you are going to start collecting Hummel figurines as your solution, maybe medication is a better option.

Regardless, start today. Don’t be like Darth Vader and decide after decades of a bad attitude, you’re gonna turn it around just to end up croaking a short time later. What a bummer.