Is It Time To Reset Your Behavior Standards?


The human dynamic in organizations can be the most significant contributor to success or one of the greatest detractors. Managing that dynamic is one of the most challenging areas for leaders, often because of the behavior standards they accept. Many leaders and managers of people are intimidated by the human dynamic because behavior can be so unpredictable. Traditional behavior standards or decorum seem to have disappeared for many, given the influence of social media, reality TV, and new social norms impacting the workplace. Whether you are a leader or an individual contributor, everyone plays a vital role in the behavior climate.

What is Decorum?

The definition of decorum is “appropriateness of behavior or conduct; propriety; correct or proper behavior that shows respect and good manners.” That is also a great way to define behavioral intelligence. COVID stress and burnout are compounding challenging human dynamics. We are emotional beings, yet emotions are not logical; they are emotional. As a result, feelings will influence behavior. With all that people have gone through the last 12 months, emotions are running high, and too often, behavioral intelligence suffers.

The permissiveness of our current culture and humans’ natural inclination to be emotional make up a challenging mix for organizations. People prefer their workplace to be calm and conducive to productivity, not chaos. The current social norms appear to encourage hyper-emotionality whenever challenges occur. People now tend to implement fewer checks and balances on their behavior. Yet, organizations must uphold appropriate behavioral standards in the workplace for the good of all employees, even when people are working remotely.

How do you reset the behavioral standards in your organization?

Part of the challenge in a multi-generational workforce is that each generation has different social norms and expectations for appropriate behavior in given situations. Consequently, those differences contribute to intergenerational conflict. What was once considered inappropriate by older generations is now permissible to younger generations. Yet, everyone can be part of the solution when it comes to resetting the behavioral climate. As part of your post-COVID objectives, it may be a good time to reestablish expectations.

Focus on these three skills to help you be less emotional, increase your behavioral intelligence, and improve the behavioral standards.

1. Objectivity

How good are you at being objective? Cultivating objectivity helps keep you grounded. We tend to be judgmental by nature. Practice simply listening and taking in information without reacting to it. If you start to get agitated, it may be because you are passionate about or emotionally invested in the topic. Encourage others to share their viewpoints and be open to hearing how they may differ from yours. Set a goal to be understanding rather than being right.

2. Impulse Control

Impulses can often get the better of us; it has certainly happened to me before. A lack of impulse control has cost lives, careers and ruined many relationships. Complete a self-check of the times your impulse control was low. What were the consequences? To improve, pause before you act. Counting to 10 before you speak or act can help you be more intentional in your actions and less impulsive.

3. Flexibility

Most organizations have had to flex during these last 12 months. That is not the same as individual flexibility. High-stress levels can lead to more rigidity as people seek to gain more control over their lives. In which situations can you demonstrate more flexibility? Practice letting go of preconceived ideas about issues and people. Look for opportunities to stretch beyond your comfort zone.

Concentrating on improving the above skills will undoubtedly help reset your behavioral standards. They are also important aspects of resilience, an essential skill set to thrive in 2021 and beyond. Embrace this time as an opportunity to be more intentional about your role in the workplace environment. We would be honored to help you reset your behavior climate and build a resiliency mindset in your organization, teams, and as an individual. Contact us to learn more and schedule your resilience assessment.

Sue Kenfield is a certified resiliency specialist working with individuals and organizations as a catalyst to maximize their successful COVID recovery. Sue leads transformative initiatives with her clients to build agile and resilient organizations by enhancing human capital, strengthening leadership, increasing talent retention, aligning organizational strategy and culture, and improving the bottom line for public and private companies and non-profit entities. She is a highly regarded speaker, consultant, executive coach, and trainer engaged in working with organizations and people to achieve their highest success.


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