Seven ways to change employee behaviour

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Seven ways to change employee behaviour

Take a considered approach and lead your employees to do the right thing


You can rupture the relationship or diminish job performance by being overly aggressive

You can rupture the relationship or diminish job performance by being overly aggressive


Have you ever tried to change someone’s behaviour at work? It’s a delicate task that can produce adverse results: It can rupture the relationship or diminish job performance. Still, there are some approaches that work better than others.

1 INSPIRE OTHERS Identify what the other person wants to achieve and make the link between that goal and the change you’re proposing. Leaders who inspire others understand the need for making an emotional connection with colleagues. They want to provoke a sense of desire rather than fear.

2 NOTICE PROBLEMS Lots of management advice focuses on the need for individuals to become better problem-solvers. But there’s an important skill that should be acquired beforehand: the ability to see situations where change is needed and to anticipate potential snares in advance.

3 PROVIDE A CLEAR GOAL Change initiatives work best when everyone’s sight is fixed on the same goal. The most productive discussions about any change being proposed are those that start with the strategy that it serves.

4 CHALLENGE STANDARD APPROACHES Successful change efforts often require leaders to challenge standard approaches and find ways to manoeuvre around old practices and policies – even sacred cows.

5 BUILD TRUST IN YOUR JUDGMENT Good leaders make careful decisions after collecting data from multiple sources and seeking diverse opinions. This builds trust in their decision-making skills, which vastly increases their ability to change the organisation.

6 HAVE COURAGE Every initiative you begin as a leader, every new hire you make, every change in process you implement, every new product idea you pursue and every investment in a new piece of equipment requires courage. We sometimes hear people say, “Oh, I’m not comfortable doing that.” A great deal of what leaders do, especially their change efforts, demands a willingness to live in discomfort.

7 MAKE CHANGE A TOP PRIORITY Many change efforts are not successful because they become one of hundreds of priorities. To make a change effort successful you need to clear away competing priorities and shine a spotlight on a single goal. – (Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015)

Previously published in The Irish Times.


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