As a manager, you must be able to facilitate behavioral changes when you notice behaviors among your employees of which you are not particularly fond. When you see these behaviors pop up, you can choose to do nothing, which can jeopardize morale, harm productivity, and potentially cause you to lose clients, or you can work to facilitate behavioral change. Obviously, helping your employee to amend the negative behavior is the better option, especially if the employee is otherwise a valuable part of your team. Fortunately, there are some steps that you can take to facilitate behavioral changes with your employees to reinforce positive behaviors while reducing those that are negative.
Be a Coach
Coaching is an ongoing and collaborative process that works at developing employees over time. It involves providing consistent feedback, which is communication intended to adjust behaviors. To help your employees to achieve an improvement in their performance, you’ll want to immediately correct behaviors that are impeding their success, but you will also need to help them develop the skills that they need to move their career forward. Other benefits of coaching employees include:
- Employees will feel valued and like management wants them to succeed.
- Staff will build valuable knowledge and skills that can help them to advance in the professional world.
- Employees will feel encouraged and supported by their company and manager.
- Workers will be able to feel the pride and satisfaction that often comes with taking on new challenges.
Tackle One Issue at a Time
The most effective way to help employees to change their behavior is to tackle one issue at a time as focus is paramount during these efforts. While you may have noticed that an employee has some issues and behaviors that you’d like to see changed, trying to fix them all at the same time will only overwhelm the change while creating more problems.
Instead, identify the main behavior that you’d like altered, and work on that specifically. Behavioral change theories cite a variety of stages associated with a change, so it is important that your employees have ample time to go through each to make sure that any change becomes a permanent one. If you have a few things that you would like your employee to work on, you should prioritize the most important and then work through them in that order, remembering only to move on once they have mastered the first behavior.
Reinforce Positive Behaviors
When you reward employees, you reinforce positive behaviors. When you notice a behavior in your workplace that you want to see more, be sure to acknowledge, recognize, and possibly reward it. Likewise, when an undesirable behavior pops up, be sure to provide constructive and direct feedback right away so that your employee understands that it is wrong.
It is important to deal with and confront these behaviors fairly and head-on. Change strategies for negative behaviors like “testing” your employees, bullying, or passive aggressive comments are never an effective means of getting the behaviors that you want. These tactics can be hurtful and will do more harm than good, breaking down relationships, creating distrust, and causing low morale in your workplace.
Inspire Your Employees
One of the best ways to achieve behavioral changes amongst your employees is to inspire them.Inspiring an employee is essentially tapping into their passions and motivations at a deeper level, and this can be done by using inspirational language and sharing stories. Bringing in popular motivational speakers can be a great way to accomplish this task, as an outside speaker can bring a unique perspective that can encourage your employees always to strive to do their best. Additionally, these sessions can help to build self-esteem and confidence, leading to greater employee productivity.
Create Collective Goals
Sometimes changing employee behavior is best done when working with your entire team rather than an individual. Depending on the undesirable behavior, there is a chance that everyone that you manage could use a review of what is and is not acceptable. You should be sure to set clear goals for your entire workforce that will guide all of your employees to act out positive behaviors. When everyone has his or her sight fixed on the same objective, change initiatives have the best chance of success. Holding group training sessions and meetings to reinforce these goals and the behaviors that you’d like to see out of your workers will help to inspire and encourage positive change.
Employee behavior can be difficult to change at times. However, if you want your employees to behave in a certain way, it is important to manage them in a manner that supports and encourages positive behaviors.