A fresh-faced new start always provides an injection of new energy into a workplace. But how quickly do they become part of the moaning brigade? A popular belief is that it takes only 66 days to create a new habit. I believe it depends on the habit and the environment you are in. One thing is for sure though, the moaning brigade are big and fast influencers. While you are thinking about which new business skills course to offer, bad behaviours are already evolving. They are taking hold of your new start and affecting your bottom line.
A curriculum of behavioural/business/soft/meta skills courses are not going to shift behaviours on their own. It takes positive influence from within, from the top to the bottom to be precise.
You can’t expect senior leaders who have been developing their own learned behaviours over many, many years to suddenly shift their leadership style. Going from “crazy dictator” to “coach extraordinaire” overnight. This is often the expectation after reading a Simon Sinek book and six sessions with an executive coach. The conditions must be right, which means the culture of your has to be right too.
Being clear on desired behaviours versus undesired behaviours is a good start. Provide clear examples of what good and bad look like. Give each other permission to call out undesirable behaviours in a respectful and constructive way.
Role modelling behaviours at all levels is essential in creating the culture you want for your business.
The behavioural development offered at senior level should be no different to that offered at junior levels. Strategic thinking, managing self, working collaboratively, innovation, having difficult conversations are all topics I have delivered to senior teams as well as early careers. They are all 100% relevant to your junior teams and middle managers (and everyone between). When you build the same skill set across the whole organisation, you build a future talent pipeline that you can rely on to look after your business. Coaching is not just for CEO’s, it is for everyone. As Bill Gates said “Everyone needs a coach. It doesn't matter whether you're a basketball player, a tennis player, a gymnast or a bridge player”. Coaching is not a remedial course of action, it is about developing that person to be their best version. Coaching can help create positive and lasting behaviours so that you don’t have to worry about the “crazy dictator” of the future.“But the millennials and the gen z’s will leave” I hear you cry. They make up more than half of the workforce and will only increase, so what can you do to encourage them to stay? The main reasons for leaving are lack of engagement, not enough recognition and lack of opportunity to advance. Engagement comes from taking a real interest in your people, valuing their contribution, and giving opportunities to be the very best. This can only benefit your business. Investing in their development is recognition in itself and will help create leaders of the future.
Learning new behaviours is a lot like breaking old habits. We want to break bad habits because they are making us unhappy, less productive and unhealthy. Creating new behaviours across the whole organisation takes time, effort and support from all directions. You can create the right conditions and say “goodbye” to the moaning brigade.