Every place of work, at one time or another, has a good employee with a bad attitude. These troublesome cases are unique. In the case of an all-around poor worker with a poor attitude, it is simply a matter of discipline or termination. However, a foul-tempered worker who is good at their job is tough, and sometimes impossible, to replace. They have other qualities and aspects that are invaluable to you. Unfortunately, after that, you are stuck having to deal with their attitude, and so is the rest of your team. How might you be able to effectively deal with this problem?


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Address the Attitude

If you don’t want to beat around the bush or wait for a solution to find you, meet the challenge head on. Confront the attitude. Meet with the employee in a one-on-one conversation, ensuring that this matter can be settled privately.

Next, you need to make sure that the employee understands how negatively their attitude affects the workplace. It is very often the case that disgruntled workers don’t realize that their attitude or behavior is disruptive. They might be having issues at home that they are taking out on their co-workers. Sometimes, giving them a helpful ear can reduce or eliminate a bad attitude.

Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Your top performing employee might have a bad attitude and they feel completely justified in it. They may feel superior to their co-workers and might treat them unfairly because of it. Or, they might feel slighted by a co-worker, or by you, and they decided to internalize it instead of dealing with it properly.

Getting to the bottom of the attitude can solve many problems and even help you find a way out of it.


Show Them the Consequences

Actions have consequences, and so do attitudes. Your top employee needs to understand that their bad attitude is leading to all sort of other issues. Their co-workers are unhappy working with them, and they would rather work elsewhere. Customers are leaving negative reviews on Google or Yelp. Products are suffering in quality.

At the end of the day, they need to be made aware of exactly how their attitude causes butterfly effects throughout the company. If it leads to productivity issues, the employee can be held responsible for it.



Appropriate discipline is a good way to make sure poor attitudes don’t return. There is, however, a certain way you should go about this if you need to keep the employee around and content.

You don’t want to go overboard and force the employee to quit or file complaints. However, you don’t want to be too light on them either. An employee with a bad attitude might start taking advantage of your “light” discipline strategy if they realize what you’re doing. Obviously you don’t want to replace them, but make sure your discipline doesn’t reflect that, if that is truly what you want to avoid. They might pick up on that and start testing your boundaries of what is and isn’t okay to do or say.