Groom and Nurture the ‘Right Attitude’


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In my previous blog post ‘Recruit for Attitude First!’, I championed the importance of prioritizing attitude over skills and experience when hiring, especially if you are looking to build a service culture.

However, the passion and enthusiasm from employees with the ‘right attitude’ is not a ‘given’ with a life-time guarantee. How do you retain these employees and sustain their passion for your company’s values and objectives?

First, let’s look at signs that an employee – even one who is initially highly enthusiastic – has ‘checked out’:

  • Absenteeism or opting out of company social events.
  • Decline in questions and curiosity about what’s going on in the company.
  • Drop in general levels of performance.
  • Observable body language and communications lack energy and enthusiasm.

It is easier for management to believe the problem lies with the employee. However, as a Service Leader, you should ‘Take Personal Responsibility’ and take proactive action. Besides, it is usually more expensive to hire someone new than to retain an employee who has served well and was recruited due to his ‘right attitude’.

So, what are three things Service Leaders can do to keep the ‘right attitude’ of employees going?

1. Frequent communication from leadership

An employee can lose interest if he realizes he is ostracized from certain information while someone else in the team is constantly kept updated. This employee does not understand what is happening within the company and he may have the impression that he is less valued or not being trusted with information.

Service Leaders need to ensure organizational information is shared regularly with everyone. Increase the flow of information through regular meetings – even ‘virtual’ ones. The spirit and belief that the team is working together as ONE cannot be substituted by e-mails and company portals alone. The human touch is essential in a service culture.

2. Praise publicly, especially for employees who are not as ‘visible’

It is easy to notice the loud high fliers and employees who have a direct impact on the bottomline of the company. What about employees whose ‘mundane’ contributions ensure the organization functions reliably everyday? While they do not burst into the organizational lime-light with a loud hailer, they keep the indispensible support functions going.

Don’t let the enthusiasm and passion of these employees slip just because what they do is not as ‘visible’. Find regular ways to acknowledge and appreciate them. And remember: money is not always the answer.

3. Present opportunities to grow personally and professionally

It is hard to maintain enthusiasm – even for employees who thrive on routines – if they go through a long period without learning or trying something new.

Make the effort to know each employee and provide opportunities for them to continuously develop and learn. Assign them a new responsibility or task, get them to attend a seminar or work with someone new. Be creative!

Motivation and retention efforts have to be continuous even if you have recruited the ’right attitude’. Such attitudes have to be nurtured and groomed – by you, the Service Leader!

Categories: Service Culture
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19 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    Good inputs! Yes, truly agree…personal touch means alot to an employee.

  2. Hans Mudde says:

    An additional important issue is: “How is the company improving ?”. If certain problem areas are not improving, than people start to be demotivated. Also when “new” improvement projects start to come up with same solutions. I try always to avoid the wording “We have done this already in the past”, although I am becoming old and already have seen a lot of similar solutions with no results.

  3. Sarah says:

    Frequent communticaion from leadership – It sounds so obvious but something that is not always done consistently.

  4. N Surya Prakash says:

    Excellent thoughts. So very true. In my 32 years of dealing with people, I strongly believe that mentoring, coaching, nurturing, grooming are all very relevant and important in today’s age.

  5. Tonio says:

    good one

  6. sridhar alampalli says:

    Apart from retention of employees, making them to grow in organisation will help develop the organisation itself. This is a good input.

  7. Ramgopal says:

    Yes, The leader should motivate the employees who have zeal and passion to work and who are committed.

  8. Amy says:

    Any course or DVD to coach on this groom and nuture “right attitude”

  9. Liza Huang says:

    Retaining talent is easy say than done. There are so many push and pull factors like high wages, working environment, challenging jobs, status etc. it is sometimes difficult to satisfy all. An employee can only compare what is good for them when they are out of the present environment and they can then only appreciate what they had before.

  10. Wong Lai Chun says:

    @ Hans – You becoming old…? No way…… 🙂 You certainly raised a very crucial point that improvements in the company are so important. That is where organizational growth and development occurs and individual employees grow alongside. If same or similar solutions are repeatedly used in cycles – going round and round without results (you are right), de-motivation sets in.

    I refer back to the first point in my article about frequent communication from leadership. When people start to perceive that “we have done this before in the past”, it sounds like they were just told what to do – and have not participated or even understood the rationale in selecting certain solutions. Communication from leadership allows a two-way dialogue. Even if similar solutions were selected by the leadership team and there are good reasons to do so, was time spent in communicating and explaining this clearly?

    The employees of today are discerning and have questions. Gone are the days when leaders can just tell them –“Do as you are told. No questions.” When they are left in the dark, you have lost them.

  11. Yvonne says:

    Cannot agree more.

    The difficulty is to ensure that the right people reads and heeds this..Most top management personnel have no interest or time…

  12. Leandro Almeida says:

    Hi Lai Chun

    Great article! I do agree with the main point – which is crucial to a company’s current and future success – and with the three attitudes suggested.

    And there’s something to be outlined as well, in my point of view: ONLY those leaders who have genuine interest in their people (as individuals and as a team) and understand the importance of the role they play as leaders, will succeed in keeping the people with the ‘right attitude’.

  13. Wong Lai Chun says:

    @Yvonne and Leandro – You are spot on – Recruit, Groom and Nurture the ‘Right Attitude’ absolutely includes Leaders. It is just as important -if not MORE Important for Leaders or Leaders-to-be. Lots of people can ‘Manage’. The question is “Can they LEAD?”

  14. james mendoza says:

    i agree, despite all the portals that are available right now, nothing beats the personal touch of having MEETINGS.

  15. Mansoor says:

    There are no doubts that communication, praising, and presenting opportunities to grow are important in any organization. However, Work Environment, Treating people with respect and being fair with them is in my opening a very important element in keeping your best talent onboard as it leads to work satisfaction.

  16. Ali Hemani says:

    Immediately after I finished reading both the articles, the one word came out of my mouth was “WOW – What an article”

    I have a strong believe, nothing is difficult in life – nothing at all. We make it difficult by not opting the right route.

    If we know where we want to go and we know the right direction it will be an easy drive but if we dont know exactly where we want to go or if we dont have the direct to reach our destination, it will become a hell of a task.

    Stephen Covey rightly said… “Start with the end in your mind”

  17. wong lai chun says:

    Agree – nothing is difficult if we believe and stay committed. Commitment means staying the course even if it means tough decisions and actions sometimes. Tough actions may include removing team members (with the ‘toxic attitudes’) who consistently ‘dampen’ fellow team members’ passion and enthusiasm. A guarantee for ‘initally enthusiatic’ team members to ‘check out’ is to reward the ‘dampener.’

  18. Moazzam says:

    As leaders if we all want to drive our team in positive way and want to keep them motivate and passion able then must listem to them carefully even its not important issue.More importantly have a self respect for them.Keep conected with them always.Try to solve their problem listen some time their personal issues as well talk about their families.As leader to keep your team in a smooth way and be motivaited is upon you.U will lose some time but still u have to be strong and comitted.On the ther hand orgnaization should not have any kind of discriminaition amount the employees.We must see what is the reason this employee moral has gone before saying he is not doing a proper job???and many more……

  19. Wong Lai Chun says:

    @Moazzam – You sum it up so well! I applaud your recognition that listening is so important and what may seem unimportant to leaders may mean so much to a team member. Who are we to judge what’s important for them without first finding out from their perspective? And it is easy to blame it on the team member when he is not performing his job well. We are working with humans and not machines. If leaders think listening is not important, perhaps machines can do the job better?

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