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Monday, July 10, 2017

Aligning Staff Behavior

Many people do not like to be corrected while some do not appreciate that value of timely advice and wise counsel. It is not only teenagers who struggle with receiving guidance and constructive feedback. Many senior officials and employees would rather achieve average results without feedback than seek feedback to attain excellent performance. Nonetheless, there is a difference between correcting behavior and aligning behavior. Lack of understanding of these two terms results a great deal of misdirected emotional energy resulting in animosity between colleagues, juniors and supervisors alike.

Correcting behavior implies that the person receiving feedback as regards their behavior knows, understands and willfully digresses from expected behavior to do something “wrong”. The mood in such incidences quickly sours to blame and animosity before “corrective” action is taken. However, it is not uncommon for corrective action to be taken in instances when the person being corrected has no clue of what they have done wrong. This latter incidence leads to bitterness and resentment all round. Is correcting behavior a bad thing? In the first instance, if a person has been trained, informed and warned about avoiding specific behavior and continues to do it, corrective action seeks to eliminate the behavior that may be unwanted and injurious to the individual and others. In such cases, while it may be justified, it needs to be done with tact starting with a discussion of the a) agreed expectations, b) description of the digressions and c) appreciation of the consequence’s and the need for corrective action d) corrective action itself may be accompanied by a punishment, penalty or fine.

Aligning behavior is a developmental approach to facilitate development growth or congruence in behavior in line with proposed ideals, values and principles. The object of feedback in the instance of teamwork is to enable and empower the person to develop shared values. While rules and regulations are rigid, values and norms are adopted principles that ensure organization success. The process of aligning behavior is not punitive and the feedback is intended to facilitate agreement and collaboration within and organization in pursuit of corporate goals. Aligning behavior is a powerful leadership tool and is not punitive, but aimed at working for the super-ordinate common interest of the team. When people understand the principle of aligning behavior they are less threatened, fearful and actually embrace and welcome feedback to improve themselves and their contribution to organization success. The process of alignment is based on a) the understanding or pursuit of a standard b) the evaluation of a persons contribution c) the communication of knowledge skills and attitudes to align behavior with set standards d) opportunity to receive coaching and feedback on individual attainment of (performance) standards. Correcting behavior is a judicial tool. Aligning behavior is a leadership competence; receiving corrective action is seen as punitive. However receiving feedback on alignment is meant to equip and empower the individual for effective organization contribution.
Allan Bukusi
Training Leaders

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