I love my team but sometimes… argh!

Creating self-awareness of less-than-ideal behaviours – Sam Harrowfield.

Recently during a meeting I was asked to lead, I had been asked to clarify some instructions for ideal behaviour for the people in that setting – what was expected from each person, and specifically what was not desired.  What followed was a rather extraordinary response, as one participant stood and immediately ignored what had been asked. It was obvious to the rest of the room that that person had not listened and their behaviour was not helpful.  But it was also quite obvious that that person was unaware of the disruption they had caused.

What do you do when this sort of thing happens?

We see a common scenario facing most leaders day to day: They really value their team members, who are technically brilliant, and perform to or exceed expectations the majority of the time; yet, sometimes individuals or cohorts say or do things that are not conducive to maintaining productivity or a healthy workplace culture. 

Is this a situation you are facing as a leader? If so, where do you start?

Helping team members become self-aware of the behaviours that need to change requires a little thought and planning. Here are some strategies and communication tools to initiate this:

  • Provide Clear Expectations: Right from day one – from the moment someone applies to work for you – through to their induction and into work,  ensure that your expectations for behaviour and performance are clearly communicated. These expectations should align with your organisation’s values and objectives and apply from the outset.
  • Encourage Feedback: Find a forum such as regular 1 – 1s to offer both positive reinforcement for things they are doing well and constructive feedback on areas that need improvement. Frame the feedback in a way that focuses on specific behaviour and its impact rather than general statements about the individual and what they are like.  Referencing expectations you have already set around behaviours is important. 
  • 360-Degree Feedback: Implement a 360-degree feedback process where employees receive feedback on their strengths and weaknesses from their peers, direct reports and supervisors. This comprehensive approach can help individuals gain a broader perspective on their behaviour and their impact on others, and generate engagement and momentum around their development.
  • Coaching and Mentoring: Offer coaching or mentoring sessions to employees who ask for support in specific areas. A mentor or coach can provide guidance and help employees identify areas for improvement – again, areas where they can take ownership and take action.
  • Behavioural Assessments: Use assessments that objectively evaluate employee behaviour and performance. We support organisations with behavioural assessment tools to gain insights into employees’ personality traits, thinking approaches, communication styles, and overall strengths and weaknesses. These assessments can highlight areas for greater self-awareness and further development.
  • Listen actively to concerns and feedback about the workplace, people’s  roles and the organisation’s culture. This will create a more trusting environment where employees feel comfortable discussing areas they’d like to change for their own development.

To get started, do what you can to create an environment of trust so that people feel safe to share their strengths and weaknesses. Listen actively to concerns and feedback about the workplace, people’s  roles and the organisation’s culture. This will create a more trusting environment where employees feel comfortable discussing areas they’d like to change for their own development.

Remember, the key is to approach any of these strategies with empathy, as there are many reasons why people do the things they do. It doesn’t mean you give up on your expectations of them, but empathy enables trust to be built so that you can have an open conversation.

So what did I do with our meeting friend who failed to heed instruction? Using a framework for feedback, I talked to them, and let them know what I observed and the impact it had on the team. It turns out they were very grateful for the feedback as they had no idea what they had done and thanked me for how I delivered my feedback to them. They became more self-aware and the group did get the change they were seeking.

Despite the frustrations you may have with individuals or cohorts within your team, people can change and are willing to if they are given the right conditions and opportunity. We’ve seen it time and again.

Harrowfield is a strategic learning agency. Working to a specific client brief, we draw on the disciplines of organisational and behavioural psychology – and common sense –  to determine and execute strategic and tactical programmes for personal development and team development. Through behaviour change, ideal business outcomes are achieved. 

Can you see a development opportunity or a behavioural frustration? We help business leaders to bring out the potential that they see in their people by shaping habits of thinking, communication and action in the workplace.  Talk to us today.

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