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Feb
16 2012

At the Heart of Development, Awareness

Syndicated from: Fulcrum Associates | Leadership Development and Teambuilding

A manager I was coaching recently explained (away) the behavior of one of his supervisors: “He isn’t an angry person. He means well. It’s just that he’s often sharp with people. And sometimes they take it the wrong way. He’s really a good worker. I’ve told him that people can be intimidated by him, so he knows he sometimes comes across this way.” But does he really know this? He may acknowledge it in his head but does he recognize it when he is being curt, or better yet, just before he is about to be curt? All of us, in one way or another, go around on auto-pilot. Certain behaviors we have been doing so long and the neural pathways for them in our brains are carved so deep that we don’t see it. Even if we are looking for it, it’s hard to see in ourselves. So, how do you begin to get an employee who is on auto-pilot to change a behavior that is no longer serving him (or the team) well? Answer: you help him develop real time awareness by… giving him feedback that he behaves this way and how it is damaging his effectiveness pointing it out in real time when he does it in your presence (First, get his OK to point it out. In other words to be a mirror for him.) watching him in interaction with others and, afterward, letting him know what you observed debriefing with him about the reaction of others when he does it with them (What did he notice in them? How does he feel about getting that response? What could he have done differently?) Once he can see his behavior in action, identify the impact and cost of it, and decide that he truly wants to exchange it for a new one, that curt employee mentioned above will be ready to proceed with the change he seeks. But it all starts with awareness. And you, dear boss, through your courageous and caring feedback, are often the one to kick it into gear. © 2012, Ian Cook. All rights reserved.

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