What Is a “Bad Attitude”?

WRITTEN April 5, 2017 Author: Rich Atkins

Attitude – noun

Etymology: French, from Italian attitudine, literally, aptitude, from Late Latin aptitudin-, aptitudo fitnessa mental position with regard to a fact or state; a feeling or emotion toward a fact or state

Have you ever eaten in a restaurant and realized along the way that your server had a bad attitude? It is not as if that server walked up your table and said “Hi, my name is Rich. I’ll be your server tonight. I have a bad attitude.”

Attitudes are expressed through speech and behavior.

An interesting thing to consider is, what did that server do to make you say that she or he had a bad attitude? Was it the words used? Was it in gestures?

An attitude is a belief, usually expressed in a person’s speech or behavior.  When you deal with someone, you may walk away saying, “That one has a good (or bad) attitude.”  The attitude—the belief—is expressed in the person’s words and actions. Examine what a person says and does, and then look further. Try to determine what beliefs fuel the attitude. Do this with your staff, and even yourself, also.

Below are the statements of a “ bad attitude. ” Probably, you have seen some of these in action (because of the behaviors that accompany these beliefs):

  • I don’t know/care.
  • I can’t be bothered.
  • I don’t like you.
  • I know it all; you know nothing.
  • Don’t come back.
  • I’m right; you’re wrong.
  • Your time is unimportant to me.

When these attitudes are in front of a paying customer, the results can be disastrous.

Now turn it around.  How can you transform these statements into positive expressions? (Hint: we need to start with what the person believes about her/himself and others.)

What are some of the statements and actions of a person with a “good attitude”? Thinking about this will help you to formulate a training plan for (internal and external) Customer Service in your organization. Changing behaviors means changing beliefs.


This information is from the Improving Customer Service class. If you’re looking for ways to improve your communication skills, register for one of our public classes.


Photo courtesy of purplechalk


Other references:

How to Deal with a Bad Attitude in the Workplace

11 Types of Negative Attitudes in the Workplace

Change a Negative Attitude

Zig Ziglar – Attitude Makes All the Difference (Video)


Stay Connected

Subscribe to the IC weekly newsletter for tips and advice on your communication skills!

Public Classes

Effective communication is empowering. Get started on your path to being more clear, brief, and effective.

Upcoming Classes