Most of us have heard a manager or supervisor compliment a fellow employee by saying “If I could clone him/her, I would make a dozen of them”. What is it that sets these highly valuable employees apart from the remainder of the bell shaped curve of the employee population?
I have had the opportunity to know and learn from a number of these “invaluable” employees over the course of my career, and I believe they share a common set of attributes that drives the exemplary organizational behaviors that they continually exhibit. In next few newsletters, I will identify and discuss the behaviors that position these highly valued employees at the top of their organizations.
The “Aptitude” and “Attitude” Twins
One of the classical writings on performance management is a book titled “Managing Performance Problems” (Third Edition by Robert F. Mager and Peter Pipe, 1997). Mager explains that performance deficiencies in an organizational context generally fall into two causal categories: aptitude deficiencies and/or attitude deficiencies. For purposes of this article, “aptitude” is defined as a natural or acquired capacity or ability. “Attitude” on the other hand is generally defined as psychological state of readiness to act or behave in a certain way.
To state the obvious, employers perpetually seek out potential employees who possess both the capacity/ability to perform a given set of duties, but equally important, they seek potential employees who possess a positive and professional attitude. All one has to do is look at the kind of interview questions posed to a job applicant. Invariably, some questions address the candidate’s skills and experiences necessary to perform the job and some questions (often referred to as behavioral questions) are intended to assess a candidate’s attitude toward certain common work scenarios and environments. These two individual attributes of aptitude and attitude are the primary determinants for being selected for a position, or for being promoted to the next level of responsibility.
As such, each of us is responsible for our continual learning and development of our own unique aptitude and our attitude. They are the foundation of our career growth and success.
For additional information/education with this topic, contact Al Sniadecki at Organizational Effectiveness Services, LLC (214) 263-5867 or email Alsniadecki@oesvcs.com.