Employee Attitudes & their Effects


Some workers begrudgingly wake up with a sense of dread at the prospect of coming into the office. Others may prefer to work long hours in intense focus, only going home when they realize that their cubicles don’t have beds. Such attitudes have a significant impact on the workplace environment. In some cases, one employee's outlook spurs others into better work habits. Other times, the behavior inspires suspicion and slows productivity.


New York University psychology professor Lise Saari explains that attitudes about work are shaped by a variety of factors, including disposition, personality traits such as introversion, and the nature of the job itself. Cultural influences and work environment are other determinants of employee attitudes. To increase job satisfaction, the worker’s traits must be well-suited to the job at hand. For instance, an introverted worker may not enjoy a job requiring continuous interaction with others. Likewise, managers must align incentives in a way that maximizes not just pay but job satisfaction. A 1995 Kovach study found that people put “interesting work” at a higher rank than pay in terms of work priorities.

Negative Attitude

A negative attitude in the workplace is expressed as cynicism about job tasks, a disinterest in working with others and insubordination toward authority. The negative attitude may be subtle; for example, the employee may come in late or make frequent sarcastic comments. Both overt and discreet expressions have ramifications on an office environment. Dorene Ciletti, author of “Market Yourself,” states that a worker who exudes a negative attitude tends to be monitored carefully and is unlikely to be promoted. Coworkers also express caution about working with an individual who may weigh the project down with his bad attitude.

Positive Attitude

An employee with a positive attitude shows enthusiasm and curiosity about her job. She is invested in the outcome of projects and the company as a whole. Harold Wallace, author of “Personal Development for Life and Work,” explains that an employee with a positive attitude has the potential to electrify the entire workplace. Such an attitude has the potential to increase worker productivity and overall job satisfaction.

Apathetic Atitude

An apathetic attitude is one of listlessness, procrastination, indifference and laziness. Expressions of this mentality include turning in projects late, not paying attention during meetings and a disinterest in learning new job functions. An apathetic attitude has the potential to ruin deadlines and create sub-par work. John Lee, author of “You’re Hired,” states that some companies ascribe this trait to candidates with gaps in their employment history.

Creative Attitude

A worker displaying a creative attitude finds ingenious solutions to most every problem. He takes an unconventional yet ethical approach to his job and incorporates tested methods with new ideas. A creative attitude creates value for the firm and gives the business a competitive advantage. Employing a creative attitude requires the worker to abide within the parameters of the office while at the same time challenge inefficient methods.

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