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Brain circuits

How to elicit change from your team members

Published 30 November 2021 in Brain circuits • 2 min read

Leaders face all types of daily challenges, but one of the most difficult in both the short and long term is dealing with employees who aren’t performing well or are bringing negative attributes into the office. While getting others to change their behavior is difficult, it’s not impossible.

According to an IMD global study of 500 executives, managers believe that only one in two attempts to change employee behavior is successful. These results are not surprising, since managers tend to use limited tools to identify what needs to change and rarely explore how to do so. They also mostly underestimate the influence of the context – the environment and conditions in which behavioral change happens.

There are four dimensions you need to work across to elicit change from others. The first one requires some serious self-reflection. Read here to understand the things you might be doing that are inadvertently encouraging behaviors you don’t want to see from your team.

There are different ways you can motivate your team members, but before you do so, you need to understand the nuances involved. You can read more about that here.

Psychological capital refers to the crucial inner resources a person needs to thrive and succeed. It affects a wide range of work-related outcomes, such as job performance, work satisfaction, citizenship, absenteeism, and stress. Personality and self-esteem are also crucial elements, which managers can significantly strengthen through support and creating the right work environment. There are four elements of psychological capital:  self-confidence, optimism, willpower, and resilience.

Managers can help their employees build the psychological capital they need for success and, in the process, elicit better behaviors from the employees using the methods discussed here.

The final thing you should look at if you want to change the dynamics of an office or specific employees’ behavior is the office environment itself. A supportive environment can be built using three levers: social support, habit structure, and choice architecture. To learn more, read the details here.

As a manager, practicing the art of subtle nudges in the right direction can help you become very effective at getting employees to alter their behaviors.


Further reading: 

There’s a Name for the Blah You’re Feeling: It’s Called Languishing by Adam Grant (The New York Times) 


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