Monkey see Monkey do: Model the Behaviour for Desired Results
So you’re pulling out your hair from sheer frustration with your team. Why don’t they step up their game? Aren’t they being paid to do just that? You find yourself thinking why should I thank them or acknowledge them for the things they do? They’re paid to do these things so they should do them! Simple answer to your angst- monkey see monkey do. You might be in the unfortunate position of inheriting past behaviours reinforced by your predecessor or you might be the one responsible for pushing your team to show up and do an okay job.
Why would I say your very angst is essentially caused by your own actions? Simply because the very reason why most people show up for work is often driven first by the need to meet and fulfill their basic needs: Food, clothing, safe shelter. Once these are met they set higher standards such as educational needs, certain work conditions that meet their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs. Once these are met the bar still continues to rise to levels that see your staff wanting -correct that-needing to feel fulfilled and self-actualized. They want to be appropriately challenged in order to feel on purpose and that they are making a difference at work and in life in general.
Okay, you’re saying if they want all this- why don’t they step up their game?!! If they demonstrate these desires in their actions by doing the very best they know how with the resources they have-you will be the first in line to help them rise to the next level. Not so easy. For anyone to move from taking focus off themselves and place it on how to develop others, how to contribute to their organization they will need a lot of emotional intelligence. In particular self-perception, self-expression, decision-making, self-management and the ability to build strong interpersonal relationships.
This is where you come in- you are tasked with modeling the very behaviours you wish to see in your staff.
The saying monkey see monkey do does not apply just to children and their families. It applies to the workplace family also. How you treat your staff will dictate how they show up at work. Treat them as an integral part of the team and they will show up to work for you with their blood, sweat and tears. Treat them as if you’re doing them a favour by paying them to show up then they will show up and do an okay job. This is why you being the change you wish to see in your team is so critical. John Maxwell referred to this as the Law of the Picture: People do what people see. Push others hard but not yourself or you expect to be treated as a critical member of the team but choose not to afford this treatment to your fellow team member-monkey see monkey do.
Some simple steps to model desired behaviours:
- Make sure your audio is in alignment with your video. Are you demonstrating what you say you value?
- Your team might not want to be treated the way you want to be treated. The old saying treat people the way you would like to be treated might not be so wise after all. This is why it’s best to ask your team what matters to them? What do they value? What gives them meaning and purpose? This way you know straight from the horse’s mouth how they would like to be treated.
- Focus on developing your team more so than the bottom line. Your team is critical to you and the organization achieving your goals. Why not invest in the most important resource to the organization-your team? You can’t deliver top-notch customer service without your team. You can’t make the finest products without your team. You can’t acquire and maintain best in the industry status without your team. So why not develop them to be the best they can be?
- Get really clear about your guiding philosophies. These are the very beliefs that remain permanent even when cultural and social norms are changing around you. Your guiding philosophies if conducive to pulling the best out of people, will pull you through the initial phases of rallying your team around a new and healthier norm.
- Create a space for your team members’ voices to be heard. This is the one other way you will get desired results. By modeling the desired behaviours you wish to see in your staff you will create an emotional reality that is designed for you and your team to work in a highly resonant way. This is the point where you will be pleased to know that monkey see monkey do.
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Here’s to loving how you live, work and play!