Managing behaviours

If you’re running a business, you’ll be aware that behaviours are an important factor in its success. Success hinges, as much as anything else, on the ability of your staff to manage their time effectively, have creative ideas and pull together as a team. By managing behaviours, you are able to improve those parts of your staff’s performance that have been identified as critical to your business’ success.

Have you found yourself saying something similar to these statements about one of your employees?

“She’s not really a team player”

“He lacks creativity and vision”

Business owners can often fall foul of judging their staff on their ‘attributes’ whilst not being able to define clearly the attributes as behaviours. If you haven’t looked at what being ‘well-organised’ or ‘creative’ actually means for your business, you won’t be able to help your employees to improve in these areas.

So you’ve identified which behaviours are crucial to your company’s success. Now the hardest part is managing those behaviours. One way of looking at this is to use performance objectives to manage your employees’ performance and development.

The default position for setting performance objectives focuses on numbers, and is a ‘safe’ way for business leaders to manage their employees: have they met deadlines, what percentage increase in sales have they achieved, and so on. Any feedback given also uses the same parameters.

But it’s worth your while to move out of the comfort zone of tangible numbers and focus on the ‘how’ or the behaviours of performance. The ‘how’ often gets overlooked by managers as they are perceived as being less tangible and subjective. This is translated into being unmanageable.

However, there are ways to assess behaviours so that you can manage them. Start the process by:

  • identifying the behaviours you need to clarify with your employees, and
  • identifying which of those behaviours are going to improve performance

Once this has been done, you can then set performance objectives for each of your employees. Before setting anything in stone, ask yourself: which person is in the role and what are the main outcomes that the business needs from this job? A straightforward way of doing this is to look at how the role fits into the overall departmental or organisational objectives.

Thanks to Joan Henshaw’s blog for inspiration.

Call us on 01865 881056 or email us at if you would like to discuss this topic in more detail.