Join Todd Dewett for an in-depth discussion in this video Modeling desired behavior, part of Motivating and Engaging Employees.
- As a leader, it's important to espouse particular standards of behavior. It's even more important to live up to the standards you set. To suggest certain behaviors and then follow through makes you consistent and it signals integrity. Conversely, to suggest certain standards, and then behaviorally deviate from them, causes serious doubt about whether you really mean what you say. Always remember the power of vicarious learning. Humans learn very well, simply by watching others. When you're actively instructing someone, you're interacting with them and in that context, the learner perceives risks.
The normal risks associated with learning. Such as apprehension about being evaluated. But when someone is not directly interacting with you they can observe effectively without feeling any risk at all. They might be watching you talking to a customer. Maybe their observing you in a meeting. And it could be as simple as listening to you on a large conference call. What you say and do, and how you say and do things, teaches others a lot about you. That means your goal is to be intentional. To be intentional means to be conscious of what you're doing.
Conscious of the implications of your choices. And conscious of how your actions influence other people. Let's think for a minute about how you model behaviors for others. Consider these five important aspects of work life. First is work ethic. Your work ethic can have far reaching effects on your team and your organization's culture. For example, employees often mirror the behavior of their immediate supervisor when it comes to being early for work, leaving late, and taking reasonable breaks. If you consistently leave the office an hour early, it's likely other employees will take opportunities to leave early too.
Be careful about the signals you send. If you need employees to work on the weekend once in a while maybe you can send a few e-mails on the weekend to demonstrate that you're working as well. The opposite is also true. If you wish to discourage working on the weekend, say so, then talk with anyone sending out e-mails on the weekend about your views of work life balance. Now let's think about communication. Again, it's common to see the communication style of a manager mimicked by their employees. Your team will speak with positivity to the extent that you do.
They will engage conversations with candor to the extent that you do. Your responses to conflict will be mirrored as well. If you like to raise your voice, yell, and point fingers, well, you're increasing the chances they will as well. Your influence is so deep it even effects their choice of communication channel. If you choose e-mail or instant messaging too often, you can actually encourage them not to seek out quality face to face interactions. So, be intentional.
Next, consider honesty and integrity. Your commitment to doing the right thing provides a strong model for your team. If you are consistently in line with your values and all prevailing ethical standards, that's integrity. When you always keep your word and fulfill your promises at work, that makes you honest. When you own your mistakes and make needed apologies, you're sending the right signals. To state it simply, the likelihood that others will behave inappropriately goes up significantly if they perceive that you have acted inappropriately.
Model the way by doing the right thing. Finally, consider risk taking. Risk taking is vital for change and improvement. It's the foundation of innovation. But people at work can be very risk averse. Many times, systems of accountability seem to encourage people to play it safe and not cause any trouble. That's unfortunate, since real change never happens, unless teams take principled risks. As the leader, your job is to facilitate this process by encouraging smarter and smarter risks and a love of learning.
The more they watch you embrace risk taking in the service of innovation, the more likely they will take their own initiative when they see an opportunity. Formal teaching is interesting and important. But the most powerful teaching is the example you show every day. Stay conscious of what your behaviors are saying. And remember, be intentional.
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- Assessing employee engagement
- Providing autonomy
- Building a transparent culture
- Modeling desired behavior
- Using monetary and nonmonetary motivators
- Fostering accountability
- Developing career paths for employees<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.