Behavior change for a purpose

(Insert any desired behavior in for the word behavior.)  The goal is change behavior of the direct reports so the manager is doing the right thing and leading by example.  By behaving in the desired way, the manager believes the direct reports will also begin behaving that way too.  But this was not successful.

The problem is that there is no problem with the old behaviors.  From the perspective of the direct reports there was “nothing wrong”–there is not a problem.  This situation is the more common condition.  Desired behavior changes are not from bad behavior to good behavior; worst practice to best practice.  The desired behavior changes are from good to better, better to best.  When there is no apparent harm being done with current behavior, more motivation is required to change.

What is required is to point out the harm that might be being done with the current behavior, or how the situation would improve with changed behavior.  In the first case, how to avoid the bad and in the second how to gain the benefit.   

The direct reports are only seeing the manager as being different, but they do not see the reason for the manager behaving differently.  The manager needs to explicitly tell the direct reports why there is a change in their own behavior and explicitly indicate how it has reduced the harm or provided benefit on his part. 

Jonathan Shaver