Posts Taged behaviour

Empowering your people to do the right things right

empowerment

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.

Get in touch by email with Richard or Paula

By following Richard or Paula on Twitter

By giving us a call on 08712 349 873. We would love to by you a coffee…

 

 

7 top tips to help you survive your first job interview!

First Interview

“Nation of awkward teens need help to shake hands and smile”

Antony Jenkins Barclays chief executive, was quoted in The Sunday Times today as saying that Britain will probably have a “lost generation” of teenagers, if we don’t “help them develop the skills they will need for the new world of work”.  Are these your students he’s talking about?  The skills he’s referring to aren’t the academic topics they’ve spent years studying for, but “people skills”.  These are the skills that take the individual from being “socially awkward” and not able to give eye contact or shake hands with someone in authority, to appearing confident in the way they manage themselves, engage in conversation and play their role within the interview.  Below I’ve outlined 7 top tips for you to share with the young people you work with increase their effectiveness in interviews:

Be prepared for the interview

How many of us worry about the interview in private, but shrug it off as “no big deal” in public.  IT IS A  BIG DEAL! Statistics from www.parliament.uk showed that 764,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed in September to November 2014, which was up 30,000 on the previous quarter, and the unemployment rate was up 0.9% from the previous quarter. This means that no matter how positively you are viewed at six form, college or university, you are an unknown quantity in the world of work. You will be judged on what you know and how you present yourself, so read up on the company, the position you are being interviewed for, what other similar companies are up to.  Have questions prepared that you can ask the company, and appear knowledgeable. Be very clear why YOU want to work for THEM, as HR and company directors like to know that you have chosen to apply to them for a job rather than a competitor.

Be confident

How do your friends and family view you?  Do they see you as being confident in a range of situations?  Ask them for examples of when they have seen you this way, and what you looked and sounded like?  Check out were you naturally confident in this situation, i.e. discussing a topic around Sunday lunch with your family, or did you have to switch if on, such as giving a speech at college.  Get your family or close friends to describe these situations and coach you, so that you can conjure up these positive words, phrases and mannerisms again, when your confidence is beginning to fade, either before or during an interview.  Also ask them to describe situations where you’ve been over-confident and what this looked like? It’s important to know the difference so that the wrong impression doesn’t come across in an interview.  When we are nervous, over-confidence can easily come into play to cover up nerves.  This is not a good look

Posture and stance

When you go for an interview, you never know who is observing you, so it’s always a good idea to be confident from the minute you enter the building.  What impression are you giving the receptionist who greets you?  At this stage, you will need to show confidence through your posture and stance, so ensure that when walking into the building or interview room, you stand up tall and straight, put your shoulders back and keep your head level with your chin up, as this makes it easier to gain eye contact.  These things extend your body length and give you a presence.  If this is difficult for you to understand, just think of how you view people who are the opposite.  By trying to make themselves as physically small as possible, how do you see them: shy, worried, fearful  or even powerless?  Can you think of someone who has a strong presence on TV?  Observe their mannerisms and how others react to them.  However, as I’ve mentioned earlier, don’t be over-confident and swagger into the interview room thinking the world is lucky to have you.

Eye contact

There is a lot of information out there on whether you should or shouldn’t make eye contact due to cultural differences, gender and age differences and how best to show respect to someone in authority.  The golden rule, is that the person interviewing you is asking you questions and so will usually be looking at you, and so expects you to look at him or her when responding.  It’s useful to do this, as you can generally pick up on their facial cues, smiles, nods show they are listening and are either agreeing with what you are saying or are finding it interesting, whilst frowns or  stares could mean confusion or disagreement.  It IS acceptable however, to break eye contact. You are not in a staring competition, and also ensure that if you are being interviewed by a panel, that you initially look at the person who asked you the question when answering, then look along the panel as you continue answering the question.

eye contact

 

Body language

During the interview you’ll be using a range of body language and the key is to be aware of some of the messages you are giving.  This is why mock interviews are really useful, and preferably with people you don’t know, as they can tell you, without bias, the impression you are giving.  You will be nervous, you might be flustered, you’ll probably be sweating and possibly uncomfortable in the clothes you’re wearing.  If you have excluded an air of confidence before entering the room with your posture and general chit chat, don’t blow it now.  Ask friends and family if you have any ‘poker’ tells, which means what do you routinely do when you are nervous, twist your fingers, play with your hair, clear your throat or jiggle your legs?  Whatever your poker tells are, unless you are consciously aware of them you won’t be able to know when they are happening and stop doing them!  You won’t fail an interview for crossing your arms across your chest or saying erm, but the person interviewing you will pick up on how uncomfortable you feel compared with the person they have just seen, and may choose to give the job to the more confident person, if qualifications and knowledge are similar.

Choice of words

You must know your stuff!  You must use key terminology in a knowledgeable way and also provide examples of things you have done.  Look at the job description, objectives or competencies required and pick out the key points that link your experiences or ‘career/job wants’ and talk about these.  At the very least it shows you have read all the information sent to you and can link the job competencies to experiences you have had.  It also makes you feel comfortable as you are talking from a position of familiarity and therefore are more confident.  It’s like using hashtags, if you want to get hits, use the right tags.  If you want to get the job, use the workplace language! Most interviews want to know about your life experience as well as academic information, so talk about your hobbies and how decision making comes into play, or budgeting, decision making or problem solving…

The open and close of the interview

These are important times and interviewees often feel powerless at these points as they are unsure what is expected of them, so are just usually quiet and waiting for someone to tell them where to go and what question to answer.  Use this time to engage in small time or chit chat, about the company “I’m delighted to have the opportunity to come here today because I’ve heard ….”, the building “What a fantastic old building, what’s it like to work here?”, the weather or any small talk (you can prepare some topics beforehand), so that you give positive verbs to the person meeting you, and it also helps you to relax into the situation.  More importantly, the interviewer sees you smiling and chatting to a member of his or her staff on entry to the room. An excellent first impression! Similarly, at the end of the interview, show some initiative and thank the interviewing panel for their time, give them eye contact and shake each person’s hand if you have the opportunity.  This gives them a positive lasting impression of you being a confident candidate for the job!

Professional Development People have worked with schools, universities and companies in coaching people and developing their communication skills.  We were most recently involved with #DavidCameron’s #Employability programme in Surrey, helping the long term unemployed get back into work, through training them in a range of qualifications, CV writing and interview skills.

Let us help your young people!  Call or email Paula or Richard via our website to arrange a free consultation over coffee. Follow us on Twitter Paula or Richard
Please like us on Facebook.

Is Transactional Analysis a viable business tool? Psychology for business –

Transactional Analysis

Transactional Analysis or TA as it is commonly known as, is a tool used in many areas of business and education, and it’s a concept that once explained, makes complete sense and you’ll wonder why you haven’t used it before!

There have been many books and articles written on Transactional Analysis such as ‘Games People Play‘ and I’m OK – You’re OK .  Their premise is to  help us become more effective in the way we respond to and communicate with others. Read on, and in laymen’s terms I’ll explain the terminology and how to begin to understand why we communicate in certain ways, both in the work place and in our personal relationships. However, there are complexities to this concept, and so this series of articles will only look at transactional analysis on the simplest level.  However, you can contact us if you want to explore various concepts further.

Transactional Analysis – What is a transaction?

Dr Eric Berne was a psychoanalyst and psychiatrist, whose work on human behaviour was influenced by Dr Sigmund Freud and neurosurgeon Dr Wilder Penfield.  At it’s simplest level:

 “Transactional Analysis is the method for studying interactions between individuals”  

This includes any form of verbal or non-verbal communication between two people. This communication is the ‘transaction‘, whilst the ‘analysis‘ is what you understand or take from the message you are receiving.  Someone smiling at me is a ‘transaction’ and my ‘analysis’ is that the person is happy to see me.  Berne’s work asks us to reflect on these interactions and try to understand our own behaviour as well, i.e. why am I smiling back and crossing the road to meet them, if I really want to avoid them?

Transactional Analysis – What are ego states?

To help us understand the nature of our transactions with each other, Eric grouped our ways of thinking and behaving into three areas, that he called ego states:

Parent -when we are thinking or behaving from this ego state, we are drawing on our experience of the parental Is Transactional Analysis a viable business tool?figures in our lives which have been absorbed into our way of relating to others.  These parental figures could be warm, loving, indulgent, distant, controlling, or ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ types. These characteristics could be attributed to our real parents, or people who we saw as parental figures in our lives.   In a recent situation, someone hit my car from behind whilst I was stopped at a red light.  The woman driving was so apologetic and shaken up by it, I forgot she had hit me and gave her a hug and told her it would be OK.  It was my natural response to nurture her, once I realised everyone was OK.

Adult – when  we are involved in transactions from this ego state, we are rational and able to think and make choices.  In this state, we are able to recognise our potential child and parental responses but keep them in check and maintain control and deal with the facts of the situation.  Again, in the car situation above, my initial response on getting out of the car was to ask what had happened, was anyone hurt, then later on to check my car and hers over and then take her details for insurance purposes.

In between these clearly adult ego state behaviours, I was shocked and shaking, but comforted her when I realised that she was worse than me emotionally.

Child – from this ego state, we are remembering how we used to respond to events outside of ourselves when we were small.  We may use extremes of behaviour and language and have strong feelings about a situation or statement, and exaggerate our responses, i.e. in the car shunt situation mentioned above, I could have slammed the car door and screamed at the woman “You stupid idiot, are you blind?” and then burst into tears.  This name calling and crying is a way of showing that a situation has overwhelmed us and so we can revert back to name calling and extreme displays of emotion, if this is how we remember dealing with situations when we were small.

We can move between the ego states depending on the situation, the people involved and the communication itself.  As you can see in the above example, my thoughts were in the adult ego state and ruled my emotions initially, as I was very rational and dealt with the damaged car, before moving into my parental ego state.  Not everyone is able to do this, and certainly not all of the time.  We tend to have an ego state we naturally adopt when under stress and times of pressure.

Question: Do you know what your natural ego state is?  

Do you handle situations from different ego states depending if it’s home or personally related, as opposed to a work problem?  Most of us do, because we’ve learnt the types of behaviours expected of us at work and conform to them. However, at home and with our partners we can let rip and behave in an emotional way (child or parent), which would be unacceptable in another situation or in front of a different audience.

What type of language do you use? 

Parent – “never”, “should”, “always”, “do this”, “don’t do that”

Child – “I feel”, “I hate”, “Always”, “I don’t want to”, “I like”

Adult – “probably”, “I think”, “I realise”, “perhaps”, “I believe”

In the next blog, I’m going to explore complimentary and crossed transactions, as well as ‘game playing’ examples, and begin to look at how you can change the course of a conversation or interaction that is going wrong.

In the meantime, please tweet me @therealme_PDP and give me examples of how you know when you are in a particular ego state.

Like us on Facebook

 

 

 

Getting positive results from difficult situations – how do you get them?

Feedback picture

This article links to my last one on attitudes and behaviour, in which we looked at how emotional we can become when faced with a difficult situation.  This article focuses on turning difficult situations around by understanding attitudes and values and so someone’s behaviour.  The focus is on getting positive results from difficult situations.

If you remember the scenario I left you with:

I had a really difficult situation some time ago at work, delivering a course for a FTSE 100 company, on which a delegate asked me if he could leave on day 1 at 3:00pm. The organisation was really hot on finish times, they didn’t like courses finishing early, so I was in a awkward position. How did I get a positive result from this difficult situation?

To try and gain some thinking time, always a good idea, I asked the guy 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 5:30pm, because the owner of another dog was bringing him over to mate.

We previously looked at the difference between someone’s attitude and their behaviour.  Behaviours are real, and as such can be heard, seen or even felt.  In comparison, attitudes are the responses to situations that might drive someone’s behaviour, which we are not party to, and may not understand.

In this scenario the delegate is:Getting positive results from difficult situations

  1. Asking for two and a half hours off work
  2. Making a polite request
  3. Asking permission from someone that does not have the power to give it
  4. Making the request in a public forum

 

I really had to deal with points 1 and 3 in this scenario, because the impact of 4 on me would have been highly negative.  Again, how did I get a positive result from this negative situation?

The fact that the delegate was making his request politely, allowed me an opportunity to build our relationship through some direct praise, once I had responded to the request.

What should I do?  Which of the delegate’s behaviours needed to be changed or maintained?  In the first place, it was inappropriate to ask for two and a half hours off work at the start of the course, and secondly, for the delegate to ask the tutor, who couldn’t give permission to give exactly that!

What was the impact of that behaviour?  It put me in a difficult position, as all the other delegates might then have reasons to go early.  In addition,  the FTSE 100 company that commissioned the training expected all their staff to stay for the duration of the agreed course. It also delayed the start of the course for all fifteen people, which could have had an effect on the amount of time spent on certain aspects of the material.

How did this make me feel?

I felt frustrated, angry, annoyed, embarrassed, uneasy and worried.getting positive results from difficult situations

What did I need to see from the delegate in the future?  Evidence that the delegate understood the situation and the possible implication of asking me to give him leave to finish the course early.

Getting positive results from difficult situations

 

How did I do it? The problem solving model I used in this situation, was called the BIFF model, a method of giving assertive feedback to someone, and can be used in a range of situations.

So what did I do?

I said to the delegate “I’m not sure that you were aware, but when you asked me if you could leave at 3:00pm today…” (BEHAVIOUR)

IMPACT  “that put me in a difficult position. I have to run the course according to set criteria, finish at 5:30pm, which I am not allowed to vary. I have to be fair to everyone, and keep things on track with time. I have no management power to grant you time off”.

“I am FEELING really under pressure, frustrated and powerless in this situation”.

“If you need to go at 3:00pm then that is your choice, you need to take that up with your line manager, as I cannot grant you that time off.  Please don’t indicate that I said it was OK because I cannot say that. I have to inform your employer of your attendance at both morning and afternoon sessions. I would rather you stayed or re-booked the course”. (FUTURE)

 BIFF modelboxing glove

 

 

 

 

 

 

The outcome

This approach was much more effective than me telling him what I really felt about his request. The outcome was a really positive one, the rest of the group knew who was in charge and that I was being fair.   The delegate knew where the responsibility lay for his decision.  He decided to ask his wife to manage the canine date, and stayed on the course and was very positive throughout the two days.  The open and honest dialog had helped build our relationship.

 

So how do you go about getting positive results from difficult situations…

1) Think about what the person is  asking

2) Think about the behaviours they are displaying

3) Think about what they are doing and how they are doing it

DON’T waste your life trying to work out why they are doing it, as you won’t ever be right!

 

I’d be interested to hear your own experiences of using the BIFF model when giving feedback.

 

5 steps to running a successful parents’ support group

successful parents' support group

5 steps to running a successful parents’ support group

Reading an article regarding increasing parental involvement made me reflect on the value of setting up and running a successful parent’s support group, as early in the school year as possible.   As staff,  you will quickly become aware of those children who are engaging in  negative behaviours, and will begin trying to change that behaviour through rewards and sanctions, as well as talking 5 steps to running a successful parent's support groupto their parents about your concerns and trying to get them on board.

Some children are new to school life and are struggling to adapt to the formal nature of the setting and cry each time they are left or have regular tantrums throughout their time with you.  Some parents themselves are finding it difficult to leave their little ones,  cry at handover time, and are difficult to get out of the classroom.    I can look back on memories of cajoling parents into leaving their children, then moving onto guiding them to the classroom door, then physically shutting the door, whilst they yell around the frame “remember mummy loves you….the teacher will call me if you need me……I might just wait in the office for half an hour to check that they settle”.  These parents can be their child’s very reason for not settling!

Other children are familiar with school and the routines and are flexing their muscles.  Still others,  may have regularly displayed episodes of choosing to engage in negative behaviour, whilst some may have  an undiagnosed condition such as ADHD or Aspergers or other aspects of the autistic spectrum.

 

How do you engage parents in discussing their child’s inappropriate behaviour?

successful parent's support group

This is a tricky one, as often the parents you want to speak to are the very ones who ignore you!  More often than not, their own experiences of being at school are extremely negative and they want to avoid being in the building, meeting a teacher and discussing school work at all costs.  Their own academic skills may be poor and so they don’t want to show themselves up by displaying their lack of knowledge.  Add to this already long list of why these parents don’t want to engage with school, the fact that you are complaining about their child’s behaviour, and you can understand why they might blow up at your suggestion that they try that bit harder to help the school!

I have a background in SEN, especially focusing on social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) and worked both in schools and as part of a local authority behaviour support team. We spent many hours looking at the best ways to work with parents, ranging from formal meetings at school and the accompanying paperwork tying them into trying things at home, which inevitably failed, to having a cup of tea with them in a place they felt comfortable and discussing how to move forward together.  This took time and steps were slow, as we were working on a 1:1 basis.  I found one of the best ways was forming a support group with parents.  I deliberately use the term with, rather than for parents, as they have to feel both parties are on the same side, in order for real changes to be made.

5 steps to running a successful parents' support group

5 steps to running a successful parent’s support group

STEP 1 – Choose carefully the mix of parents who will be in the group.

Will you ‘invite’ parents to join the group, or will they choose to sign up with no suggestion from the school?

From my experience, you will find a number of parents willing to come to a parent’s support group, but will they be the right ones?  The ones who avoid coming to school, don’t return letters etc, will not put their names forward for this.

I’ve tended to ‘invite’ personally those who I want to attend and also mention it to those parents who appear anxious about their children or keen to help, but I have no real concerns over.  This mix ensures that I would not be talking at a group of parents, but that some would ask and answer questions as well. This reinforced the idea that we were actively seeking parental expertise to help change their children’s behaviour.  Also it doesn’t look like a “failing parents group”, as one mum suggested I was asking her to attend.

 

STEP 2 – Think carefully about the time of day, length and purpose of tsuccessful parent's support grouphe sessions.

These things can make or break a successful parent’s support group.  Parents will always come up with a reason to not attend boring school stuff, that they think has no relevance to them, and also where they will be told that they aren’t parenting their kids right.

The groups I’ve been involved with, trialled times and dates, and found that generally running the session straight after drop off or before pick up were the best times.  We also choose a day towards the end of the week, as often behaviour was getting worse at home as well as at school, and parents were more receptive to behaviour management ideas that they might try out of pure desperation!

The first session was only 30 minutes long, as we wanted it to be as painless as possible, and parents to feel pleasantly surprised when it appeared to be over quickly.  The next session was 45 minutes and then the others were 60 minutes long.  We tended to run them for half a term, and so recruitment began the half term before, in order to get maximum numbers attending the sessions.

 

STEP 3 – What’s in it for them?

A creche facility was offered for siblings, which initially  was in the same room as our parent’s support group.  This was for two reasons, firstly, to alleviate parental anxiety over what the younger ones were up to and who was looking after them.  We needed to build up trust.  Secondly, it was free childcare and gave them a break!  Thirdly, it meant if parents found the format to imposing, they could pretend to play/oversee their children, whilst still be in the room listening and hopefully contributing.  Fourthly, parents couldn’t cancel, because they had no one to look after their child.

We ensured we offered refreshments for both parents and the toddlers, including cakes for the parents rather than biscuits, as they  thought this was a treat.

Lastly, we arranged for their school based children to be brought to the meeting room, as then our support group sessions didn’t have tparent group wordso be cut short, with parents slowly drifting out.  This strategy also allowed parents to talk to one another after the more formal input and us to have ‘light touch’ 1:1’s with certain parents.

 

STEP 4 – Choose staff whom the parents like and respect and provide the necessary time for them to fulfil this role properly

My role  with schools was devising the programme for the parent support group project and then acting as the facilitator for each session with a member of school staff.  Choose carefully who that person will be.  The parents have to know this person and have some form of respect or positive opinion about them to start with, as well as feel they are quite high up the school pecking order.  The choices have often been the SENCO or Deputy Head.  These people have been released from some of their duties to allow them to focus on these children, including meeting parents informally throughout the week and checking on the progress of the children in the classroom/playground.

5 steps to running a successful parents' support group

STEP 5 – Gaining trust and building relationships

This is key if you want to work more intimately with parents.  This can be an uphill battle, due to the feelings parents may have about their own school experiences.  How do school staff begin to break down those barriers and build relationships with parents?  The success of your parent’s support group will depend on this.

In our first session,  we stuck to the 30 minute time slot and  asked parents for their experiences of school.  We ensured we had quotes from other parents that we could use, to demonstrate we  understood and had listened to and more importantly ‘heard’ how some parents may feel negatively about their school experiences.

Once we started, the parents offered their stories and we had a great deal of laughter and also some shocked gasps.  There was emotion in the room, but not highly charged, so it was easy to handle, if you were a skilled teacher or facilitator.  For parents to share these emotions, they must have that key member of staff who they know and reasonably like, as obviously I was new to them.

We kept the session light hearted and asked them for tips on how they managed their children’s behaviour at home. We validated each idea, as far as we could, and then translated it into what we could and couldn’t do at school, both through choice and legally!

We kept it as a discussion forum, then offered 1:1 sessions afterwards if parents wanted to discuss their individual child. Inevitably, it’s the nervous parents who come to see you, rather than the ones you needed to.  However, it meant there were always willing voices to share what strategies they had tried out during the next week.  This allowed us to become facilitators for only part of the session, rather than throughout, and the group began to talk to each other outside of the sessions and share ideas.

successful parent's support group

Each session we focused on a key behaviour issue, rather than a child and asked parents to comment if their child displayed that behaviour, which they inevitably did, and we could then add what we were seeing in school and strategies we used.  We  would explain how we wanted the parents to support us with changing the behaviour. Gradually parents moved from saying their child wasn’t a problem at home, to admitting they were, and often the behaviours were more extreme.  This led to some pro-active joint problem solving between home and the school.

 

5 steps to running a successful parents' support group

 Contact Paula at PDP to  plan a successful parent’s support group.

Behavioural contracting, the way forward.

Behavioural ContractingBehavioural contracting, the way forward

Have you ever been on a training course where someone has an axe to grind from moment one, and does it all the way through the course? Then behavioural contracting is the way forward  for you!

Why is behavioural contracting the way forward?

The purpose of a behavioural contract is to allow people the freedom to behave, in positive ways, so that they get the most from an event. Many of my colleagues view this as some kind of chore that has to be achieved, in the same way you would give out health and safety briefings.

I felt like this until about three years ago. On a day that I didn’t bother doing one!

Picture the scene.

A law enforcement organisation, middle and senior managers all of whom had been told to attend the session, but were there because of the “fear” of non-attendance, rather than the outside chance that they might learn something.

A particularly vocal individual suggested we get on with things, instead of going through the usual “crap”. So naively I did. The outcome, bickering, back biting and general anarchy.

It took me back to my earliest teacher training days when as a first year PE teacher I asked someone to throw me a basketball and a dozen 14 year old boys all threw the ball at me! NEVER AGAIN!

behavioural contracting

So I had to really lay the law down with the law enforcers and had a battle of a day, but rescued it.

So the learning?

Having been in a really difficult situation, I didn’t lose the group, but it was darn close. I vowed NEVER to be there again. I now take behavioural contracting, as the way forward really seriously. Every event that we do will include some aspect of the expected behaviours from delegates.

A typical outcome is shown here Behavioural contracting, the way forward the detail of the contract will vary from group to group, but the principle of having an influence over the behaviours of the group is critical. It enables anyone, from junior to senior colleagues to say ” hang on, we agreed we would listen, I don’t feel I am being listened to…” Powerful stuff.

So when someone starts the axe grinding what options are available? Obviously there are several, the most powerful one is where another delegate suggests that the behaviour is outside our agreement. This always leads to a brilliant discussion around acceptable behaviours, power and the greater good.

Occasionally when the transgressor is more senior it allows me to intervene without causing embarrassment.

SUMO

No, not the big Japanese chaps. Sum Up and Move On. This methodology enables us to stay on track, to not go around the houses or down any pointless rabbit holes. In the agreement there is a tacit mention of this and when we might need it.

NOT using SUMO is like being in an endless “any other business” part of a meeting. Futile and demoralising.

Moving out of the classroom

Behavioural contracting, the way forward.  Many of my clients believe so, they have taken the principles out of the classroom and gone back to work t on team driven behavioural contracting.

How powerful would your workplace be if people really felt they could contribute without fear. What would that do to your levels of innovation?

PDP are here to help you get it right.  Contact us for advice.

 

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.