Standing in the room while the head of sales shouts, gesticulates and loses their temper. We’ve all been there, and it’s not a pretty picture. They may be losing it with an individual or a team, while the latter hang their heads and study the floor. It’s cringeworthy, uncomfortable and rarely leads to a positive outcome. So, who is in control of their behaviour in this scenario: the gesticulating business leader or the immobile team member?
We believe that behaviour is a choice. Whether raising your voice or remaining silent, taking a patronising or arrogant attitude towards colleagues or being passive,
the individual chooses how to behave in that moment. Therefore, both the head of sales and the team member are directly, and equally, in control of the impact they have on the situation and those around them. But when the pressure rises threat brain kicks in, meaning normal behaviour gets forgotten about – like when a driver stalls the engine when a passenger shouts at them for taking a wrong turn.
We’ve worked with business leaders from many different organisations and have delivered genuine behavioural change to help them achieve better-performing organisations. It takes time and space: there’s no overnight cure. In fact, there’s no cure at all. But there is learning and behavioural change.
Often, the problems start with the disruptive behaviours of an individual, or a group of individuals. Change those behaviours and the long-term outcomes change too.
To change behaviour, examining the reasons why someone behaves the way they do has to be the starting point. Consciousness is the key here. Consciousness is so much more than showing up to work and being a warm body in the room. It’s about a keen awareness of how one’s own motivations, values, personality and emotions influence behaviour. If people are not aware of why they behave a certain way, or how their behaviour impacts a situation, then it’s unlikely that the behaviour will change.
Ruth Moody and Neil Kimberley, Farscape directors, unpack consciousness and why raising people’s consciousness forms the basis of much of the work that Farscape does. Farscape worked with one particular senior leader who became aware that they always raised their voice when they grew frustrated. That knowledge helped them to choose a different course of action when a similar situation arose, leading to a calmer, more productive exchange.
Consciousness is the difference between a knee-jerk reaction and a measured response. With greater awareness comes a broader range of responses available in the heat of the moment, responses that can considerably alter the outcomes. When individuals at work stop, think and then respond, instead of reacting, the outcomes are profound. More effective leadership and higher-functioning teams, and better business for everyone.
If you’re interested in the subject you can watch Farscape’s webinar on consciousness. The webinar looks in detail at the meaning of consciousness and why it matters to your organisation.