Technique 1.33 Your Behaviour as a Manager

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This technique is used to identify values you would like to express in your behaviour and uses two models to describe mental frameworks which govern our behaviour in organisations and other situations.

It is best done in groups of at least 3 people who work with each other, ie 2 participants complete the question with one answering as he/she sees him/herself, the other as he/she sees his/her colleague, then the answers are compared and discussed, especially where large differences in perceptions are identified; the third person is to act as a referee just in case the other 2 become "fired up". All group members participate in this discussion.


Nominate Participant #1 and Participant #2 from your group; these colleagues are each given a copy of the questionnaire to complete. Participant #1 ticks the top row of boxes, while independently Participant #2 ticks the lower row on a separate questionnaire.

Participant 1 is ticking the boxes in the top row as he/she perceives himself/herself; Participant 2 ticks the lower row of boxes as he/she perceives Participant 1. If the preference is for the statement on the left, tick the left hand box. If there is genuine indecision between the two alternatives, tick the middle box. If the right hand behaviour is strongly favoured, tick the last box in the row. On completion, identify where the ticks are furthest apart using this as a basis to start the appropriate discussion. Many worthwhile discussions flow on from the answers to the statements.

organisational development change management

organisational development change management

organisational development change management

An interesting quote stressing the need to look at our own behaviour first, rather than criticize behaviour:

"...When I was a young man I set out to change the world. When I grew older, I perceived that this was too ambitious, so I set out to change my state. This too, I realized, as I grew older, was too ambitious, so I set out to change my town. When I realized that I could not even do this, I tried to change my family. Now, as an old man, I know that I should have started with myself. If I had started with myself, maybe then I would have succeeded in changing my family, the town, the state ‐ and who knows, maybe even the world..."

Anon as quoted by Brian Greedy, 2003

Model 1 behaviour suggests that in your organisation, you should do the following

Always try to design and manage your work environment so that, to the maximum extent possible, you stay in control of the factors that affect you

Tell others what you believe will make them feel good about themselves

Never confront others' reasoning or actions

Advocate your position in order to win. Hold your position in the face of advocacy. Feeling vulnerable is perceived as a weakness

Never tell other people all you think and feel

Irrespective of the situation, stick to your principles, values and beliefs

Model 1 = a mental model that governs our behaviour in business situations, ie we rarely confront the truth. It involves being nice and smart. You go along, get along, win as often as you can, and try to take care of yourself.

Everyone is so busy avoiding conflict and taking care of themselves that they wreak havoc with the organisation. People pretend to be candid and straightforward, but they aren't. No one exposes the assumptions behind their reasons, even to themselves, and consequently, mental models go un‐examined and un‐challenged. Furthermore, this type of behaviour can become so routine that we do not realise that is going on. This is sometimes called "skilled incompetence"

To handle this situation, we need to inject more inquiry into conversations:

1. Reveal our thinking process to others by prefacing our comments with phrases such as

"...‐ here's what I think and here is how I got there....

‐ I assumed that...

‐ I came to this position because...

‐ here are some examples of the kinds of things I was thinking about when I come to the conclusion that....."

2. Encourage others to explore our assumptions and conclusions by asking clarifying questions such as

"...‐ what do you think about what I have just said?

‐ do you see any flaws in my reasoning?

‐ what can you add?..."

3. Get others to make their thinking process clear with such questions as

"...‐ what leads you to that conclusion?

‐ what data do you have that supports that conclusion?

‐ can you help me understand your thinking here?..."

4. Clarifying understanding of what others are proposing with follow‐up questions or comments such as

"...‐ is this similar to.....?

‐ if I understand you correctly, you're saying that...?..."

5. Explore, listen and offer views in an open way when disagreeing with others

"...‐ have you considered...?

‐ when you say....I worry that...

‐ I have a hard time seeing that because..."

6. Look for information that will help people move forward when an impasse with them seems inevitable such as

"...‐ what do we know for a fact?

‐ what don't we know?

‐ what do we agree upon and where do we disagree?

‐ are we starting from two different assumptions?

‐ what would have to happen for us to consider an alternative?..."

Model 1 ‐ words need to be tough, direct and confrontational. The aim of this is to increase the capacity for self‐reflection and self‐examination in order to recognise and correct defensive reasoning and unacknowledged negative consequences. Furthermore, it requires that brutal honesty is the personal and organisational price of learning.

(sources: Bob Dick et al, 1999; Joseph Boyett et al, 1998)

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