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Feedback Listening

Over the last few months, my supervisor has told me several times that I have a bad attitude. I disagree with this, and when I try to explain, she does not listen. The incidents that she uses as examples are totally out of context. How should I deal with this?

When employees are told that they have negative attitudes, their typical reaction is to become even more negative. This, of course, leads to further comments about their attitude, which in turns leads to further negativity. Fortunately, there are ways to stop this cycle before it carries you away.

One step is to honestly determine whether you have a negative attitude. Try to think of any behaviors in your repertoire that could be interpreted as being at odds with your supervisor. This does not have to be a major battle, but can be testy comments, cutting questions, or defensive body language.

In addition, it is time to discuss the issue with your supervisor in more detail. Tell her that if she sees situations that point to negative attitudes on your part, you would like to know about them and correct them at that time. Be sure that you adequately publicize your behaviors that demonstrate a positive attitude. After all, the best indicator of attitude is behavior, and it will be very important to let her see that you are not misbehaving.

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