What People Managers Need to Know - Part One

christinapd
HR Consultant
People Development Magazine
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Over the next week, I will look at 3 basic psychological components which great people managers instinctively, if not unconsciously already know.  During my career, I have gained management, learning and human resources skills.  However, my basic understanding about “how people tick” has been the most influential factor in creating successful teams and enthused employees.

In Part One, I take a quick tour around our belief system.

Beliefs create our individual and collective worlds.  Millions of pieces of information are available to us at any one time.  Our beliefs and the parameters which are then laid down by our beliefs determine which pieces of information we receive.  Our beliefs determine which pieces of information we accept or reject.  If we don’t believe it, then we simply don’t perceive it, or won’t allow ourselves to perceive it.  In the words of the song by Boy zone

“No matter what they tell us

No matter what they do

No matter what they teach us

What we believe is true”

Beliefs come in all sorts of packages and create all kinds of effects in our lives.

  • When conflicting beliefs come into our awareness it can create confusion
  • Holding opposing beliefs at the same time can cause internal conflict
  • Limiting beliefs can prevent you receiving what you want
  • Subconscious beliefs appear to control your behaviour and make you feel  helpless
  • You can bring subconscious beliefs into your awareness
  • You can choose your beliefs.  No belief is ever fixed
  • The key to changing your world and experience is to change your beliefs
  • How you interpret reality around you can inform and shape your beliefs.
  • Beliefs are simply an interpretation that you choose to determine as true
  • Beliefs can be changed.

Now don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting that every Leader or Manager needs to get a psychology degree.  Nor am I suggesting that it is your job to change people’s beliefs.  And certainly we need to make sure we respect people’s beliefs, particularly in the arena of equality.

Incidentally for the sake of clarification:  in the Equality Act; belief is defined as “including philosophical beliefs, such as humanism, which are considered to be similar to a religion. Other categories of beliefs, such as support for a political party, are not protected by the Equality Act.”

So why then is an understanding about beliefs vital for managers?  If you know that your people act and react in accordance with their beliefs then that is extremely useful information.   No.  Brainwashing people or trying to force people down a different route is not ethical, and it is not what I am suggesting.  Everyone has a free will, and this must be respected.    But it is useful to know how and what you need to do to influence and persuade your employees to buy into your mission and plans.

I’ll give you an example.  I worked hard for a couple of years engaging with a particular team and helping them to think and feel like a successful highly motivated team.  In those days I was pretty idealistic and hoped that I would win everyone over, and that everyone would enjoy working in the team.  But there was a core of people, who no matter what, they were still unhappy.  Still criticised and still caused some negative waves.  Simply put, they had fixed beliefs about their working lives and maintaining their belief was more important to them then changing beliefs.

I was talking to one of the employees who could be particularly negative.  I asked her why she seemed so resentful and was there something I was doing which was causing this particular resentment?  Her reply was a real eye-opener.  She told me that it was nothing to do with me at all.  I had come in and she observed that I was trying to get the team on board.  However, she didn’t like management, never had and never would.  She went as far as to say that nothing I would ever do would persuade her otherwise!

We did come to a somewhat uncomfortable compromise in the end, which limited her impact in terms of negativity within the team and how our relationship would work in the workplace given her fixed and unrelenting views.  Not ideal, but then, not my job to change her beliefs.

The real power of understanding beliefs and belief systems is when managers are instigating change.  Work on drawing out existing individual and team beliefs and then understanding how to ethically change beliefs for the better within the workplace is the key to fundamental and lasting success.

Encouraging your employees to reach positive beliefs about themselves, their contribution and the meaningfulness of your vision and task are the building blocks to brilliant success.

If you would like to know more, or want to claim your free consultation.  Contact us by visiting www.peoplediscovery.co.uk .

Watch out for Part 2 in the next few days.

This blog is available in audio.  If you’re not able to see the audio buttons please visit http://www.peoplediscovery.co.uk/2012/02/24/what-people-managers-need-to...

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