You Can't Change Another's Behaviour

Most of my managerial career I believed that I could, or that I was, changing people's behaviour. I now realise this is false. You can't change someone else's behaviour, only they can do that. You can influence their behaviour to get more of what you want and less of what you don't want from their behaviour.

What can we do?

We can influence their behaviour by changing our behaviour.

Step One: Admit that we are part of the problem

In every relationship there is a minimum of two people involved. Accepting our role in the problem is a major step and the most difficult step in resolving the issues you have with the other person.

Step Two: Check Your Attitude

How would you describe your attitude towards this person?

Is it judgmental? Frustration? Anger? All of those things?

Negative attitudes on our part delivers a negative reaction back towards us. Look to change this by checking your attitude first.

Step Three: Change Your Attitude

If you've checked your attitude and decided that you have a negative attitude towards this person, then you can swap the negative attitude for a more resourceful positive attitude. For example: If your attitude has been negative and judgemental, you can resolve to change this to a positive supportive attitude.

You can decide to smile more around them, share a joke or a fond memory more often. Be lighthearted around them. If something happens or goes wrong, look to laugh it off or brush it aside lightly. Seek to help them and support them, rather than judge them.

Step Four: Be Patient

Be patient with them and yourself, if things don't change very quickly or if you find it more difficult to change around them. None of the step are easy and we can slip back into old ways easily. Also, there's a model that the person is holding about you and the way you are with them in their mind and this won't change just because you tried something different a few times. People change through time, not overnight.

Step Five: Notice the little things

The key part of all of this is your attitude because this will drive your behaviour, those non-verbal cues and clues that we all pick up when communicating with others. Small changes by you will gain small, but significant changes in others.

By changing your attitude you will send out powerful non-verbal signals that you have changed and in-turn, those around you will also change in response to you.

We cover this topic and many others here:

Have a great week


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