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From smoking cigarettes to late-night snacking – we all have our fair share of bad habits. And while you may have tried your hardest to quit, chances are it took a few times to break the pattern. That’s because there is something inherently gruelling about changing our behaviours. Our brains are wired to accommodate our normal routines and practices.

When it comes to business, the stubbornness of our brains is a particular problem. For organisations to succeed there needs to be a relatively consistent level of change – whether it is an overhaul in internal processes or a shift in departmental responsibilities. The problem is that making these changes requires an alteration in behaviours across a business.

To effectively promote change leaders need to be able to influence behavioural changes in their employees.

Bottom line: To effectively promote change, leaders need to be able to influence behavioural shifts in their employees. Is this even possible? And if it is, how can you alter your team members’ behaviours effectively?

Can you change your employees’ behaviours?

Let’s start off by confirming that yes, behaviours are 100 per cent changeable. The trick lies in using the correct approaches to change them in the first place. Here are some of the most direct and effective tactics for influencing behavioural change.

1. Lead by example

Employees are much more likely to change their behaviours when they see their leaders spearheading the change. We often see managers that want their teams to have better work-life balances, yet they continue to have late nights in the office. If your team sees you staying past 5:30, it sends the message that this is the behaviour that is expected of them. As such, they won’t change their own habits and will continue to work themselves dry.

2. Strengthen and grow relationships

You can’t influence anything, let alone behavioural change, if you don’t form strong and trusting relationships with your staff. You need a team that trusts and respects you to even begin changing behaviours. This requires putting in the groundwork to create these relationships so that when things do need to change you are well-positioned to do so.

3. Have serious conversations about the ‘why’

There needs to be a level of genuine communication when it comes to behaviour changes. Sit down with your team and explain why things need to change and how they will play a role in this shift. Often, people are simply looking to understand the motivation behind change. Once they understand why and how that shift will affect them day-to-day, behaviours are much more likely to change.

4. Create individual strategies

If the necessary behavioural shifts aren’t happening, it can be useful to examine individual motivators. Sit down with the team members that seem to be having trouble with the transition and have a discussion about where the resistance is coming from. Ask them about what motivates them and use these motivators as a way to encourage their eventual behavioural changes.

Here at Leading Teams we can help you create an environment where these kinds of behavioural shifts are possible.

What can we learn from this?

The major takeaway here is that leaders can better influence change by understanding how to influence employee behaviours. When you initiate behavioural shifts appropriately, you can ensure your team’s actions are aligned with organisational goals. Here at Leading Teams we can help you create an environment where these kinds of behavioural shifts are possible.

In order to influence these changes you must first have the foundational relationships in place; you need to be willing to have genuine conversations about what needs to change and how to realistically enable these transformations in your various team members.

From leadership development to cultural change, our model addresses major organisational transitions through the foundation of strong relationships. To learn more about how our team can help you, give us a call on 03 9654 3744.


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