How to change bad business behaviour

Man standing at the top of hill

Bringing good behaviour back into business is a matter for the masses to take up. Encourage those around you to take the lead.

Do you feel surrounded by other people’s lack of commitment, or incompetence?

Is the fabric of society becoming unstitched? Do you believe that common courtesy no longer exists in business? Has it become a lost art? Is this a leadership issue?

I was chairing a committee meeting this week and almost fell off my chair when one of my fellow committee members told us not to bother sending him emails, as he doesn’t have time to read them let alone answer them. I asked him what was the point of self-nominating to be a member of this committee if you aren’t going to review information and contribute to discussion and decision making. No satisfactory answer was provided. This incident only added to my ongoing frustration caused by people who never respond to emails or return telephone calls, let alone do so in a timely fashion.

I know you can’t impose your values, belief and work ethics onto others. So how do you combat the frustration, disappointment, annoyance and constant need for follow-up that arises in response to other people’s lack of urgency or commitment to action?

Experts suggest that the best way to deal with inaction or a lack of a sense of urgency is to surround yourself with like-minded people, i.e. those who share your expectations, standards and drive for results. I know that this is difficult to do in the workplace, so if you can’t select the people you work with, you need to learn how to better manage their actions, or to change your expectations. It could be as simple as that if you want it to be.

Sometimes we need to become a ‘tribal leader’, which means walking the talk in every aspect of our working and personal lives. There is nothing wrong with old-fashioned values like ‘my word is my bond’ and ‘do as I say I will do’. These are values and beliefs that most of our parents taught us. So why should we let go of what we believe and accept other people’s mediocrity? The answer is, we shouldn’t.

What do Tribal Leaders do, you might ask? They improve the culture of the environment and can achieve a number of objectives. For example:

  • Team collaboration – they work towards a noble cause, propelled by their values.
  • Trust, which reduces fear and stress levels as the ‘interpersonal friction’ of working together decreases.
  • The entire tribe shifts from resisting leadership to seeking it out.
  • Employer of choice – the organisation becomes a magnet for top talent
  • Increased employees’ engagement – shift from ‘quit on the job but still on the payroll’ to fully participating and achieving as one team.
  • Organisational learning becomes effortless, as the tribe actively teaches its members the best thinking and practices so that the collective always works as one team.
  • Individuals feel more alive and able to have more fun at work.

If you have the chance to select the people you work with, then surround yourself with ‘can do’ people regardless of whether they have the skillset to do the job or not. A positive attitude can be contagious and almost unstoppable, which means people who think this way can learn the skills required to do most jobs. Remember the old saying ‘where there is a will there is a way‘.

If you are a leader, why not become tribal and surround yourself with people who think the same way – who are in at least as much of a hurry, at least as inquisitive, at least as focused as you are. People need to have the courage to believe in the goal and also be prepared to have a go, to run the gantlet. They need to be driven and want to make a difference.

It is all about relentless solution focus. Mediocrity is easy; the pursuit of excellence is a lot harder. Which focus do you currently have? More importantly, which focus will you have from today onwards?

So how influential is your Leadership? Not influential enough? Then what are you going to start to do to define, create and start living your tribal instincts every day?

  • Hey Arndria, another timely post that hits the heart of what is lacking – self leadership, character and intention. The reality is many leaders are lacking the intention to be a ‘true’ leader. Self leadership is about character, and one input to our character is our intention to model the behaviour we expect of others. Sadly, far too few leaders today, whether they be first line supervisors or holding C-Suite positions, may not have experienced role model leadership throughout their own careers. For many the only access to role model leadership can be found in blog posts like yours, and other articles or books… but like the leader on the committee you chaired who didn’t have time for responding to emails, maybe they’re not finding time to read, learn and apply the principles required of skillful and intentional leadership.

  • OtherAndrew

    Very relevant to some recent scenarios we’ve been dealing with. Thanks for some good thinking points.