As an executive coach my focus is on helping clients raise their leadership capacity in order to lead more effectively. This typically involves tweaking certain behaviors, so leaders can to bring their best selves to the workplace.
While changing one’s behavior can be extremely difficult, it is crucial in order to become a better leader. Keep in mind that behavioral change is not an event, but a process. It requires diligence and patience. It often means that you stop behaving in a certain manner in order to start behaving differently.
“People will do something—including changing their behavior—only if it can be demonstrated that doing so is in their own best interests as defined by their own values,” wrote Marshall Goldsmith in his book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. “The higher you go in the organization, the more your problems are behavioral. The higher you go, the more your issues are behavioral.”
As much as we may recognize that our current behavior is holding us back, it can be difficult to change because that knowledge alone is not enough to move us forward.
According to Plato, human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion and knowledge. It’s important to keep these elements in mind when trying to understand why we behave the way we do and in how we can change certain behaviors.
This is about the longing or craving you may have for something that will bring about greater satisfaction or enjoyment. In the workplace, desire drives the expression of your behavior even when it may not serve your best interests. Think about inappropriate comments regarding attraction to another person. Unfiltered desire may actually threaten continued employment. Desire can also provide the motivation or passion you need to initiate a change in behavior.
This affective state of your consciousness enables you to experience joy, love, anger, hate, etc. Though some may think they can ignore emotions while at work, to be human means to be emotional and this is true wherever you are. But experiencing emotions at work doesn’t mean simply reacting to them. Instead, you should learn to leverage the information emotions bring about, which means not reacting to them in a way that may undermine your goals but responding to the wisdom they provide in order to behave appropriately. Understanding and practicing this can aid in your ability to initiate behavioral change.
Your knowledge informs how you behave. Though your intentions may be entirely clear to you, that doesn’t mean they are clear to others. Understanding that certain behaviors may be holding you back is very important, but it is not enough. The knowledge you have of your emotions and the desire driving them enables you to behave in a certain manner. This helps you understand how to bring about changes to behaviors that better serve your goals.
More than what you say, it is your behavior that demonstrates most clearly how you show up in the workplace. This behavior can either reflect well or poorly on you. When it undermines your what you intend, it is time for change.
I will be sharing an exciting announcement next week! Be sure to stay tuned and keep an eye out, I can’t wait to share this news with you!