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Empowering your people to do the right things right


Empowering your people to do the right things right

Don’t we all want our colleges to do the right things right? Well you would think so, but sometimes our behaviours don’t allow them to do so. Have a look at the Paradigm below it identifies four distinct areas that people will fall into at work and there are associated dangers and benefits to each area, along with organisational effectiveness, performance, skills development and team work.

In previous blogs we have looked at the whole concept of Attitudes and Behaviours. click here to see

In this context we are going to call them different things. Attitude, the stuff inside you, personal to you and your journey through life, can represent your prejudice. When you prejudge things adversely it can be problematical. It is very hard to see someone’s prejudice unless they drop their guard and let you see it through their behaviour. It then cease to be prejudice and becomes alive via discrimination.

So in this context Attitude = Prejudice and Behaviour = Discrimination

Area 1 – People with prejudice that allow it into discrimination at work

Empowering Prejudice

Where is the place for people that do this in your business? The obvious answer is out of the business, if colleagues come to work believing bad things and acting on them, they must surely fall foul of a vast array of policies and procedures. However many just get away with it because they have always been like it!

Not an empowering environment for creative, innovative working….. Empowering your staff requires every policy and procedure to be robustly applied to everyone.

Area 2 – People with absolutely no prejudice who never act in a way that might discriminate

Empowering No prejudice

Now we would all love to have workforces like this! Most of us bounce in to this area on occasions, but its a really difficult place to live in. NEVER having any negative thoughts, NEVER acting on them in anyway. This is the domain of saints and babies!  A delegate once suggested that this is an are solely for “the dead”, they can’t have prejudice and never discriminate.

A great place to aim for, resulting in the demise of every HR department, harmony at work…….

Area 3 – People have no prejudice, but their behaviour is discriminatory

Empowering bad behaviourHow can this happen? How can someone not feel the prejudice but behave in ways that discriminate? this falls into several subsections

1 The ignorant. These workers have no idea that their behaviour is inappropriate, but as no one has ever held them to task for their behaviour they just carry on doing it. The colleague who uses bad language as a matter of course, without realising its impact on those around, those that they would never want to offend or upset. But do.

Empowering your staff means dealing with these openly, frankly and honestly. The conversations might be unwelcome, make the individual feel uncomfortable, BUT they are necessary and warranted

 2 The blind eye. Where workers turn a blind eye to things that are going on, because they would be difficult or embarrassing to tackle. The manager that sees sloppy behaviour towards a customer and lets it go. Thus setting the standard for every subsequent customer interaction because “he saw it and said nothing……”

Empowering your staff requires standards to be set by managers and gives staff the permission to insist on appropriate behaviours, knowing they will be supported.

3 The Avoider. This individual knows that something is going on that shouldn’t be, but doesn’t have the tools to deal with the situation so they make sure they are never present when problems could occur. Supervisors roster conflicting colleagues together on a night shift, knowing that they will be on the day shift…. Not my problem then!

4 Joining in. The most difficult of the 4. Why would someone join in with behaviour when they KNOW its wrong? there are six simple answers, all of which revolve around fear. Fear of Position, Personality, Threats, Expertise, Social standing and Moral high ground.  Click here for our blog on power.

Empowering your staff means being very aware of the political dynamics at work, insisting on fair play, assassinating banter, keeping a finger on the pulse of the work place. Making sure it stays healthy.

Area 4 – People who come to work with prejudice, but don’t allow their behaviour to be discriminatory.

No Discrimination


Recognise anyone?  I certainly fit this area most of the time. I am able to choose my behaviours, I am responsible for them.

Empowering your staff means supporting good behaviours by acknowledging them, recognising them, celebrating them. When these things happens it is possible to start to erode the preconceptions and help colleagues dwell for longer in Area 2.


At PDP we help business’ and individuals look at their behaviours and the behaviours of those around them. We do this via training, coaching, mentoring and up-skilling.

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The difference between attitude and behaviour

The difference between attitude and behaviour

Understanding the difference between attitude and behaviour is complex

Understanding the difference between attitude and behaviour can be confusing, especially if you have just met the person, and only have their behaviour to go on.  I had a really difficult situation some time ago at work. Delivering a course for a FTSE 100 company a delegate asked me if he could leave on day 1 at 3:00pm. The organisation are really hot on finish times, they don’t like courses finishing early, so I was in a difficult position. To try and gain some thinking time, always a good idea!, I asked him why he needed to leave at 3:00pm. He replied that he was a dog breeder, that his bitch was at a fertile time and he needed to be home by 5:30 because the owner of the dog was bringing the dog over to mate.

My attitude as a response to his behaviour

I am stood in front of 14 delegates at the start of the event whilst this conversation is happening, I have to remain professional, in control, so that the course doesn’t descend into anarchy. I couldn’t believe that this guy wanted to leave to watch his dog have sex, I thought that he was uncommitted to the course, that he had a poor attitude to his work, I thought he was pushing his luck. Being allergic to cats and dogs I couldn’t find any justification for his request, his values are significantly different from mine, his values are totally alien to me.

Everyone else was watching this discussion with wry interest. If I let him go they would all have reasons to go at 3:00pm. I was angry, frustrated, embarrassed and this can lead me to becoming sarcastic, a place where no-one ever wins. Should I tell him that he needs to get a focus on his job, that his side-lines are not part of his work, that this attitude stinks? I really wanted to but…….his reaction to this is likely to be aggressive, if I challenge his attitude I am challenging his personality and that is a difficult thing for us to deal with.

Conversely, I have a 6 year old daughter who is in year 1 at school. If he had said “I have a parents evening to attend at 5:30 and need to leave at 3:00 pm” my internal reaction would be totally different.

Where do attitudes come from?

The difference between attitude and behaviour

There are three broad places that determine our Values.

1) Background.

The 0-7 year experiences and influences. Your folks, school, friends, culture, environment, religious beliefs, experiences, family, the media, when you went through the 0-7 (the era, 1970s were different to the 1990s) and many more. These have all happened to you, they can’t be undone or influenced. You might go back and make sense of stuff as an adult, but you can’t change what’s happened here. It is highly likely that this period in time will set the tone of your Values. For example; whichever brand of religion was present at that time of your life, it is highly likely that if you still have belief it will be that belief. If you were brought up as a Roman Catholic you are still likely to be one.

2) Significant Life Events

We all have some destination, some goal, and follow a pathway towards it. These things are the occurrences that make us re-evaluate that destination. They include: Hatchings, matchings and dispatchings (births, Marriages and deaths) Divorces, Exam successes and failures, promotions, redundancies, lotto wins, accidents, illness’, overcoming illness. These things are partly in our control, we have some influence. (not the death bit hopefully!)

3) Lifestyle

This is about our daily choices, and we are in control of these.

They include; who you chose to live with, where you live, where you work, how many hours you work, how much sleep you get, the diet you have, your use of drugs (or not), the friends you keep, the amount of exercise you get….

All three of these areas mix together and from them appear our Values, which inform our beliefs and feelings and ultimately our attitudes.

How easy is it to see someone’s attitude?

Just being human means we strive to understand what is motivating others, why they do things. The delegate on the course has significantly different values to me. The challenge is what to do about it. If I make assumptions about his values I will also start to try and fathom out why he has these values, where they come from, what is motivating him. This is human behaviour, but utterly pointless. How can I possibly work out this stuff? I am just guessing and am going to be wrong every time…..His values are different to mine; it makes him wrong, it makes me right, I get indignant, I become sarcastic or aggressive, we end up with conflict.

The only way to deal with the situation is to use your brain. Dislocate your emotions from the situation focus only on the BEHAVIOUR disregard, ignore your feelings about “why” he is doing it, just look at what he is doing (his behaviour).

In this scenario he is

  • Asking for 2 and half hours off work
  • Doing it politely
  • Asking permission from someone that does not have the power to give it
  • Making the request in a public forum

The difference between attitude and behaviour

Knowing these facts enables me to take a course of action that is appropriate and fair, removing MY emotional baggage, getting the best for him, me and the other delegates.

So, don’t waste time and effort trying to second guess why someone believes something, why that person is doing what they are doing. Just look at what they are doing!

The next article will focus on how to do it, what happened to the dog breeder and a model that you can quickly learn to use.