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Yes … you heard me right.

You are not your behaviour. In fact, no one is. 100 percent of the time.

To understand why, first let’s get a better understanding of what “behaviour” is in the first place.

What is the difference between attitude and behaviour?

Attitude is the way you think and feel.

Then behaviour is the way you show up.

It’s that simple.

But unfortunately, this is where most leaders get it wrong.

They tend to address the behaviour … and all that does is create the person to be defensive, in denial, resistant and everything that you have to say will go in one ear and out the other.

The behaviour is not the person…

So let me reiterate. The behaviour is not the person.

The behaviour is only an output of their attitude.

In fact, most of the time individuals are not conscious of their behaviour because it is an unconscious act.

Behaviour is what an individual does – not what they think, feel, or believe.

Words will be just words until you bring them to life. So, let’s bring it to life with an example.

Imagine if I was one of your team members and it was very clear that I was not engaged in our team meeting.

I was on my phone the whole time and I made no efforts to contribute towards conversations that were thrown around the table.

I was not engaged, present …. very much preoccupied with other external factors.

Now, how would you go about addressing the behaviour without addressing the behaviour?

Mmmm… food for thought, don’t you think?

Our behaviour is more honest than our words…

We can address behaviour through feedback … but we also need to be mindful that the success of feedback will be dependent on how we give it.

Most leaders know about the “original feedback sandwich” where you open with a positive feedback, then provide corrective feedback in the middle and close with positive feedback.

But … what if we upgrade the sandwich to a burger with the LOT … “The lot” is made up of curiosity about the opportunity for improvement in the middle.

“Curiosity” should be a hallmark of leaders – a desire to ask the thought-provoking questions that gives us insight into ‘why’ people show up the way they do, without pointing out the behaviour.

Let’s try it on for size with something that might sound like this:

Team leader: “Samantha, I love the way you can get so creative in our meetings at times … I’m curious what did you think about our meeting today?”

Samantha: “It is very repetitive and there is never an agenda and never any action items at the end of every meeting. I find them a waste of time!”

Team leader: “So how do you feel we should run a meeting?”

Samantha: “Well, I think first we should have an agenda, so it’s on purpose, then I think we should all come into the meeting with an idea that is aligned to the purpose and then end the meeting with an action item that we can start our next meeting with.”

Team Leader:” Samantha, how would you like to run our next meeting?”

Samantha: (delighted) “YES!”

The conversation was wrapped up with “Thank you so, so very much for your enthusiasm and I am really looking forward to our next meeting”. 

Good feedback is the key to improvement…

As you can see, the feedback burger gives us insight into ‘why’ Samantha was showing up this way in the meeting, and a resolution was reached without directly addressing the behaviour.

But there’s more, because this also applies to our own personal behaviour too.

If our attitude, as leaders, is the way we think and the way we feel, then it’s fair to say that whatever we are thinking and feeling we are projecting into our environment and thus creating our reality.

Say what??

Let’s say I ‘label’ a team member as lazy.

That is my attitude … this is the way I think and feel about that person.

This is my paradigm … therefore I will unconsciously behave that way towards them.

This is my non-verbal cues speaking loud and clear.

And guess what? I will keep getting those results around me because my team member is picking up on what I am putting down.

For me as a leader this simple fact – that people pick up what I put down – was a paradigm shift.

What is a paradigm shift you may ask? Well … it’s a system of beliefs, ideas, values, and habits that is your way of thinking about the world, people, and situations.

A paradigm is an example, model or pattern, it’s how we view the world.

It’s our mental maps and it’s how we experience the world through the filter of our mental map – created by our past experiences.

Paradigms affect our perception… 

We can all experience a paradigm shift if we stop, pause and be present, and therefore have time to process our thinking which will then have an impact on our actions.

How do you know if your paradigm is correct?

Well, one way is through soliciting feedback (the burger with the lot!) and another way, is to your own thoughts and beliefs.

Your beliefs pave your success, or they block your success – which is why it’s important to be able to identify your beliefs. These reside in that deepest part of your unconscious mind and significantly influence our actions. Our actions influence our results.

Putting it all together … if we are not happy with our environment and what is going on with our teams … it starts with us.

Conscious leadership in action…

The truth is you can’t make someone change. But … you can change how you react and respond to them and your environment.

By practicing conscious leadership, you will be able to change the way you communicate, how you show up and the impact you will have on everything around you.

We are totally in charge of all our communications, and people respond to our communication – it’s a basic principle of human nature.

Remember, we communicate in three ways.

  • Physiology 55% – also called body language, which is our non-verbal communication.
  • Tone 38% – the way we say things.
  • Words 7% – words have substance, although they’re a small percentage of the overall, they still have power.

So, stop for a moment and ask yourself “Do I consciously communicate?”

Chances are you do, some of the time and not others. But making an effort to consciously communicate at all times can make a big difference to how you lead, and how others respond.