By Monsi A. Serrano
For years, I have been conducting various workshops to private, government, and non-government entities apart from my talks whenever I am invited by various educational institutions and school organizations.
While the topics of my talk vary depending on what I am asked to talk about as long as within my core competency like various Colleges and Universities invited me to talk about Entrepreneurship, Leadership, Digital Marketing, Understanding the Dynamics of Media, Tips on How to Save and also On How to Start a Business, I always make sure that in all of these, there’s one important factor that will determine one’s success and that is the BIG “A”.
In the corporate world like banks, manufacturing. restaurants, hotels, and other industries, when I conduct a workshop on Crisis Management and Prevention. Customer Service, Work Attitude and Values Enhancement (WAVE – Work Attitude and Values Enhancement) and The 8Cs of Leadership, whenever we do Employees Climate Survey, one of the main issues that staff, supervisor, and the manager has is the BIG “A” — ATTITUDE!
This is the most neglected part that inevitably affect the organization’s productivity as well as the productivity of the individual that contributes either to the growth and detriment of a company. There are various symptoms that we can detect if only we are just keen when someone has an attitude problem and I would like to highlight just three of them and these are in work ethic and productivity, interpersonal relationship, and last but not the least, “malasakit”.
When an employee has an issue on BIG “A” this is manifested in his performance. When it comes to working, the one with an attitude problem would not really care whether he accomplishes the tasks given to him.
This is very challenging now in the midst of the digital age and birth of social media. That is why in most companies, they block all the sites on social media platforms as these distract the employees. Given this reality, how can one prevent this counterproductive and issue on work ethic from happening?
Here are my tips:
1) Explain why work is important
2) Define Results Wanted
3) Agree on Deadline
4) Ask for feedback
5) Set-up Controls
5) Be ready to offer help when needed
6) Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up
7) Mentor by STD (Show, Teach and Do)
8) When everything else fails, give the necessary intervention and ask whether everything is clear and what are the consequences when expectations are not met.
Second, is the issue of interpersonal relationships. Given the Filipino (and Asian) culture of being sensitive to feedback unlike the Westerners, employees have the tendency to take feedback personally no matter how constructive they are.
But of course, it would also be best that when giving feedback do it by using 4PS (privately, positively, potential (highlight on one’s potential) and paternally, i.e. (like a father to his children) without passing judgment.
Remember, the feedback mechanism is created in order to improve one’s performance, attitude, and personality, and the biggest room in this world is the room for improvement when we give that opportunity to any individual.
Study shows that employees leave the company not because they are incompetent, but because they fail in dealing with various types of personalities.
That is why it is very important to develop interpersonal relationships with others and this is what we call “EQ” (Emotional Quotient). One may be very intelligent but when the EQ is low, then he is bound to encounter animosities in the workplace. Therefore, attitude is very important too. Attitude is the way one thinks or feels about someone or something which is reflected in a person’s behavior.
And last but not the least, “malasakit”, which is more than just being a concern. There is deeper meaning to this. I remember when I was asked to conduct a WAVE (Work Attitude and Values Enhancement) of the GM of a company that acquired another company.
His observation why he wanted the “Malasakit” to be the focal point of our WAVE was because the employees of the acquired company inevitably felt demoralized because of two issues. First, the acquiring company treated the employees of the acquired company as “second class citizens” which should not be the case because they are all working for one company and there should be no issue on the merger and acquisition. Hence, the “malasakit” became our main point of discussion.
But what is “malasakit”?
Malasakit transcends the word “concern”. Needless to say, it is very hard to find the English equivalent of “malasakit” because this is something that has s a cultural value that is unique only to us Filipinos.
For me, malasakit means compassion, sense of ownership, stewardship and putting others first before one’s personal interest.
When we develop the value of “malasakit” to our employees, we need not have to worry on their productivity and commitment. This is what we have to inculcate in the psyche of the people who work with us. Treat everything as if it’s their own. Because when you develop this attitude, and the other attitude on work ethic and interpersonal relationship, then you are bound to succeed wherever you go.
Even in the movie Karate Kid 2, Jacky Chan emphasized to Jaden Smith that for him to learn Karate (Kung Fu) is to develop and insert “ATTITUDE” in his practice. That’s how important the BIG “A” is not just in work, but in everyday life.
As the late Zig Ziglar said and I quote, “It is your ATTITUDE, not your APTITUDE, will determine your ALTITUDE.”