Yes, we can! But… will we?
Attitude and aptitude are not the same thing, but believe me, they should be studied together. When speaking about career development, aptitude is as important as attitude. It doesn’t matter if you are an expert on your field if you treat others disrespectfully; being the opposite totally true: it doesn’t matter if you are the kindest person on earth if you lack the appropriate skills.
- Skill: Proficiency, facility, or dexterity that is acquired or developed through training or experience.
- Will: The mental faculty by which one deliberately chooses or decides upon a course of action.
- High will + High skill: Top performer. Willing to learn and teach others. The best way to treat high performers is to delegate and involve them in decision making.
- High will + Low skill: Train and develop. Providing frequent feedback is very useful in these cases.
- Low will + High skill: Talented terror. Find out what their motivation is and reward them.
- Low will + Low skill: Up or out. Find out their motivation and train them. If they do not change, better out.
To sum up, aptitude could be trained. Training people is obviously within managers’ reach. Helping employees to learn new skills and improve performance is ‘simple’, managing behaviour is not. To improve people’s attitude needs the individual to change. Managers can explain how they feel employee’s attitude could be leading to a bad performance but it’s – honestly – impossible to force someone to change it. The only thing a manager could do is providing a motivating environment which encourages the employee to change. And if ‘will’ doesn’t come, solution is easy. Out.“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”