Frustrated by employee behaviours? Here’s how to resolve it with ease.

Frustrated by employee behaviours? Here’s how to resolve it with ease.

If you’re running a business or leading a team, you know how easy it is to get frustrated with employee behaviours. Employing people comes with it’s highs and lows, and as a Leader you need to know how to quickly and effectively resolve any issues that may come up.

At POD HR and Training, we provide Leadership Training and Coaching for Leaders across all industry sectors, so we know what we’re talking about. One of the first things we usually hear about when we first start working with a new client is their people challenges – usually this consists of underperformance or undesirable behaviours.

Frequently I find Leaders become frustrated when they’re too busy to deal with something they feel their employees should already know. They’ll assume that because they pay an employee a salary, and they tell them what’s important, they should just get it done. Sound familiar?

Here’s exactly why that isn’t the right mentality to have and where it tends to break down when you have that mindset:

They’re not inside your head.

They don’t know how to be perfect in your eyes because there’s no way for them to know. Unless you’ve taken the time to nurture them and guide them to the right answer, they’ll never become the best version of themselves.

There’s a whole host of essential ingredients necessary to get it right with your people, and spending time with them is one of them.

We answer questions on this subject every day so I wanted to put together a quick article to explore how to clear that frustration and turn it into something significantly more powerful.

By the end of this article, you will have gained easily applied techniques that are guaranteed to make your business more profitable when done right.

young employees working together to solve a work problem

How can I change employee behaviours?

This is a very good question and one that often leaves Leaders feeling exasperated when they don’t have any of the answers.

The truth is, it depends on the cause of the behaviours.

Behind every employee behaviour there’s a cause (either internal, or external).

You couldn’t expect a Doctor to prescribe medication without first diagnosing the problem, would you? Of course not!

So, in order to identify whether this behaviour can be easily changed, you need to diagnose the cause behind the action/behaviour.

The employee might not even realise that their behaviour is impacting you. Behaviours are often habitual and based on unconscious programming, so it’s not necessarily their fault that they keep repeating it.

As a Master Practitioner of NLP, I’ve worked with people to overcome negative behaviours (such as excessive worrying, reacting in anger, smoking too much, getting easily overwhelmed), to the extent that I’ve shared techniques that have helped people give up smoking after 14 solid years of smoking 30-40 cigarettes a day!

Now, I appreciate that it may be unclear how this is relevant to work related issues but it is, I promise!

If someone can walk into a coaching session and give up smoking after 14 years of trying other methods with no success, then smaller behaviours such as missing deadlines, arriving late, and communicating inappropriately can all be changed with the right tools and techniques.

The key is identifying the context and trigger that drives the behaviour.

Let’s highlight the essential points:

  1. Set up the kind of environment where there’s open communication. Make your employees feel safe enough to open up to you.
  2. Be honest with them. Avoid keeping your employees in the dark about what they’re doing wrong.
  3. Never judge the behaviour. You need to understand that people are not their behaviours – you should accept the person and change the behaviour.
  4. When delivering feedback, use specifics instead of generalised comments.
  5. Link feedback to the behaviour and not to them as a person.
  6. Make it clear that you’re curious rather than judgemental and you want to find a solution, not a punishment.
  7. Speak to them like an adult and not like a child being told off.
  8. Make it a learning experience.
  9. Clarify expectations and agreements at the end of the meeting.
  10. Reward them for any change and improvements that come out of it.
five employees working on a project together happily

Useful techniques to learn in order to change employee behaviours

There’s no doubt that changing behaviours is trickier than improving skills. That’s because it starts in the mind.

No matter how many skills you give them, if the mind-set isn’t right, it’ll all fall flat.

That’s why I found my NLP journey so useful. With personal experience of being a Leader before and after NLP, I’ve experienced the benefits first-hand and seen how anything and everything is possible with people when you have the right tools to hand.

I’m so passionate about helping Leaders benefit from this that I run training programmes around it and I’ve written multiple eBooks on the subject. Regardless of if you want to invest in full training or stick to free resources, you can share in the power of what can be achieved with NLP in Leadership.

Here are some techniques that are extremely powerful when changing employee behaviours:

1. Perceptual positions

This is a technique that helps the individual gain their own independent learnings by experiencing their behaviour through your eyes and from all angles. This changes their own perception of the situation and creates an internal change.

This change is far more memorable than any words you could ever say to them.

As the facilitator of this technique, you should be asking them what they see, hear, and feel as themselves during the behaviour. Then, ask them to step into your shoes and look back at themselves. Get them to talk about what they see, hear and feel.

Once they’ve done this, get them to be a fly on the wall, looking down on the scene from above.

There’s specific steps to this and language patterns you should be using, however, have a look at our overview of the tool by clicking on the link here and scrolling to tip 3! (Of course, there’s lots of great information in that article that you should definitely check out as well!)

employees discussing work and having a good time

2. Meta Model

Meta Model is an NLP questioning technique which digs deeper into a pattern or behaviour and establish the root cause that’d driving it.

Often, if the questions are asked in the right way the employee will have a lightbulb moment, without you even needing to contribute your opinions.

Using the Meta Model, you’ll find the context and trigger of the behaviour. With that, the cause and effect that exists within their mind will change the behaviour.

3. Conversational Anchoring

Once you know the trigger to the behaviour and the unwanted state that’s driving it you can use a technique called Anchoring. This alters the reaction to the trigger.

Anchoring blends the features of the unwanted behaviour with features of a desirable state and changes the neurological reaction. This shakes up the equation that the mind has created and changes the meaning of how the trigger is received.

Anchoring is fairly complicated if you’re not in the right environment to learn it. That’s why we build it into our Leadership Training. This provides ample opportunity to experience what it’s like as the facilitator and the individual.

Two employees working together to give a presentation

Easy steps to change behaviour

Not everyone is ready to learn transformational change techniques. You may be looking for quicker and easier ways to start making an impact right away.

With that in mind, he’s a few ‘quick fix’ solutions to change employee behaviours:

  1. Get into rapport (check out our article about rapport building techniques here)
  2. Deliver feedback
  3. Reward the change

You can find out more about delivering effective feedback in our staff development eBook (which you can download for free here). This provides you with feedback models to help you structure your meetings and 121s.

We’re always happy to help in this area. Many companies will call us in before making the decision on whether an employee should stay or go because they know if a behaviour can be changed and the employee can be saved (and therefore all the money that goes along with it!) we’re the ones capable of changing it!

If you’re considering parting company with an employee and you’re on the fence, we’ve also got an article about it here! Read our article here: How to know whether an employee is up to the job.

If you would like to ask any questions or seek support with an employee behaviour change, feel free to email me on natalie@podhr.co.uk and I’ll get back to you soon!

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