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Behavior Modeling in the Workplace

by Ralph Heibutzki

A positive work culture doesn't happen overnight, and employees take their cues from those who lead them. If your attitude comes across as, "Do as I say, not as I do," don't expect to win your team's confidence. Strong managers realize the importance of modeling the kinds of behaviors that they want employees to adopt. Success depends on how well you manage actions that are under constant scrutiny from the moment that you become a supervisor.

Be Consistent

The attitude that you show as a manager affects your team's ability to function efficiently. Employees waste little time picking up on inconsistent behavior. As a July 2003 article in TechRepublic online magazine notes, a manager can hardly expect strict punctuality form staff if he's habitually tardy himself. Every aspect of your behavior will fall under scrutiny, so make sure that your actions reflect the message that you're actually trying to convey.

Communicate Expectations

Employees shouldn't have to guess about what they're supposed to achieve every day. You must provide a clearly defined path to success, including professional development plans for those who excel and a process that rehabilitates lower-performing employees. Not everyone functions at the same level, however, so you'll make some unpopular decisions, as "Forbes" magazine columnist Meghan M. Biro notes in a June 2012 article. However, at least everyone will know what to expect.

Practice Transparency

Transparency is essential for ensuring loyalty. When you're working with other people on a team project, a manager who practices "divide and conquer" tactics will elicit little trust or respect. By contrast, the mark of a healthy workplace is one that outlines transparent leadership and management processes. If you see those processes are fair, you're more likely to embrace change, and use it to motivate your own performance.

Promote Integrity

Unethical or dishonest leadership practices pose one of the strongest stumbling blocks to overcome. A positive company culture rewards managers who model ethical behavior by tying the results to future pay raises. According to a February 2010 article in "Business Management Daily," you should see plenty of encouragement along those lines, such as discussions about standards for business conduct. You'll also observe a well-defined process for reporting violations and signs that management takes the follow-up process seriously.

Show Commitment

As a manager, you shouldn't worry about striving for perfection. The reality is that you'll make mistakes, especially if you're walking into a new situation. What's more important is showing a consistent commitment to the values that you're promoting. Your communication style may not always reflect how you meant to express those values; however, employees will probably forgive your errors, as long as they feel valued and respected.

About the Author

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