Shaping employee behaviour
Given the inherent culture and habits of Sri Lankan leaders across
different fields, it is fair to say that most Sri Lankan leaders are at
the two extreme ends, either too nice or too bossy. Both have their
specific pros and cons. You would agree that there are more cons than
pros. It doesn't work in today's environment.
Varying environment and the mindset of people demand that you keep
moving to improve organisational performance while helping employees.
This is an art that needs to be developed in leaders across all levels.
Art, however,cannot be acting oriented. Acting is easy but being
authentic for long term credibility and respect as a leader is
difficult. If you want to be an effective leader you have no choice but
to do it.
Appreciation does not mean that one should accept everything and
everybody and be inauthentic about it. Inauthentic appreciation is
picked up quickly by employees and damages relationships instead of
building them. Authentic appreciation, on the other hand, motivates
people to go beyond their own limits. It's about taking a genuine
interest in people and the business for well balanced accountability.
Focus on what works
It is easy for us to find fault with each other and see what is
missing or wrong. Unfortunately, focusing on what does not work only
leads to repeated failure. Look around, we have some leaders in every
field who get fun out of finding fault. This has to change. My
experience has convinced me that catching somebody making mistakes leads
them to make more mistakes, whereas catching them doing something right
encourages them to be right more often. Of course you do both
authentically with the right intention.
Appreciating people boosts their morale and makes them feel good that
somebody is paying attention to them and hence they continue to do what
brought them appreciation in the first place.
Appreciate others to the extent that you appreciate yourself.
Unfortunately, most often, we grow up discovering our limits by being
told what not to do and what doesn't work, more than being encouraged to
explore what is possible.
We have to 'unlearn' our patterns of identifying what does not work
and intentionally concentrate on appreciating what works however small
that may be.
I can only appreciate others to the extent that I appreciate myself.
So appreciation is also about self acceptance. We rarely appreciate who
we are and what we receive because of our conditioned expectations. It
is possible for us to come from an attitude of 'never enough' and such
attitude is quite transparent to others even though we might be blind to
Most people are quite comfortable with who they are and what they got
and never explore beyond their own comfort zones. In such cases, they
may never discover their real capacity and depend on others to tell what
their boundaries are and do not participate in anything that makes them
uncomfortable. We can operate as catalysts with each other to identify
our self-imposed limits and examine the appropriateness of those limits
in the current context. Curiosity, collaboration, empathy and
appreciation provide the impetus for people to engage in an activity
that is personally challenging and, hopefully, discover their own
Such exploration can only be done in supportive environments and
appreciative relationships. While nobody can change anybody else, an
empathetic, appreciative person who is aware of his circumstances will
definitely make him think again about his mindset and he would be
willing to stretch a little beyond his own comfort zone to explore what
is out there. You know the outcome that can be achieved, so go for it.