I approach behaviour in the same way that I approach taking my body to the gym and doing strength training. To strengthen my capacity to perform effectively, I develop my role analysis and assertiveness skills and abilities.
As a Behaviour Strategist, I have first-hand experience of how behaviour, inappropriately used, can have a constructive or destructive impact on your life and/or your career. These are two of the first building blocks that I try to understand, define and position when I begin working with my clients.
Once you are able to understand how to define your behaviours in different situations, managing them and increasing your effectiveness becomes second nature.
Different Performance – Different Roles
In simple terms, human beings function in various roles throughout their lives. You can limit those roles or you can diversify your functioning and broaden your exposure to life by performing in different situations.
The stage provides us with an ideal graphic to understand the context of role variety. As Shakespeare said:
We perform many roles during our lifetime.
- Job Hunter
These are just some of the many roles that we perform in and each one requires different behaviours and skills for us to be effective. Analysing a role and what it requires ensures that we are able to give our best performance, first for our own self-gratification and then to the satisfaction of our audience.
If you are interviewing for a new job, you would not want to behave like a parent which requires more nurturing and instructional behaviours, especially for younger children. You would be more effective if you demonstrate behaviours such as independence, achievement, critical thinking, flexibility, direct communication and a willingness to learn.
It helps to understand even better if you begin by separating your personal roles from your organisational roles.
I never quite understood role analysis until I was in my 30s. Prior to that, I held the view that my behaviour had to be the same regardless of the role or situation that I was in. I paid little attention to what the objective of my role was, I was just “being me“.
My professional development and results were taking a beating though. More so because I was not yet an assertive PERSON. Most of my personal behaviours moved from being aggressive to being passive and this pendulum swing often took place within minutes, sometimes seconds.
As I reflect today, I cringe to think about the impact that my behaviours were having on the people around me. I used excuses like being an introvert or only child to hide behind my inability to position my behaviour assertively.
Thankfully, my professional life was going through a major transition and I would soon begin to understand that behaviours had a construct and each role that I played required me to perform differently.
In the role of daughter, I could not treat my mother as my peer and certainly not do so disrespectfully as though she was my resource. My role as a daughter required me to display behaviours that were demonstrative of the importance of her role in my life and the fact that she was my elder who continued to make a critical contribution to my growth and development.
When I started to change my thinking, attitude and behaviours towards my mother, our relationship took a much-needed turn for the better.
As I shared earlier, it was through my professional roles that I finally woke up to the realisation that my behaviours were not aligned to my performance. They certainly were not getting the best out of me or the people around me.
In my 20s I started my first business and progressed successfully to become the Caribbean Representative for one of the world’s leading leadership and management development organisations. That was a major turning point for me because I discovered the construct of roles.
In my role as a manager, I realised that I was trying to be a parent, (and not a very good one), to my staff. My personal roles were not full-filled and that ineffectiveness was spilling over into my professional life.
One of the most profound behavioural lessons for me was the fact that if I wanted to be a good leader I needed followers and no one wanted to follow someone who was selfish and not engaging because of their own needs. It hurt to come face to face with the fact that I was needy and I was looking to have my needs full-filled anywhere I could.
In that position, I could not assert myself and definitely could not perform in the roles of coach, mentor, teacher, guide, facilitator which were required to be an effective manager and business leader.
Using Assertiveness To Understand Your Effectiveness
Role analysis and assertiveness are neglected diamonds in your behavioural development. If you start understanding these two dynamics and apply some of their basic principles, you will begin to see some major changes in your behaviours and the engagement that you facilitate in those around you.
You will actually feel yourself stopping to think about the situation at hand and what would be the best way to perform. Simple things like tone of voice, facial expressions and your body language will start becoming more important to you as you will soon realise that slight changes to these attract welcome changes in others.
When you are effective, you do the right thing at the right time. In other words, you behave appropriately for the situation you are in. This, in essence, is what it means to be assertive. Knowing what is right and appropriate and actually doing it.
You can be an introvert and still be a dynamic communicator once you learn how to assert yourself and behave appropriately. It does not mean that you have to talk all the time. Actually, some of the best orators and communicators I know are introverts.
Know Where You Are Positioned
Every journey begins with a single step and it does not have to be a big one. The most important part of the beginning is being aware. If you are in a position in life today where you are not fully satisfied with your behaviours, you should stick a pin and start doing some role analysis.
Ask yourself some questions:
- What role in your life is the deepest pain point?
- When you are performing from that pain point, what aspects have the most negative impact or outcome?
- Have you ever asked a close friend or relative for feedback about your behaviour in this role?
- Did you already receive feedback that you found unpleasant and chose to ignore it?
Find some quiet, alone time. Get some blank paper and a pencil and start writing, drawing or dabbling. There is something magical that happens when we sit with ourselves and start to do some soul-searching.
Try your best to be honest and do a little every day. Daily habits soon become a way of life.
Strengthen Your Capacity To Function Healthily
When I started to work within a framework of role analysis, my life took an immediate turn for the much better. I learned so much about myself that I was able to become an international facilitator and in-demand Behavioural Strategist. That may not be your end goal but, who knows where the changes that you make will take you.
It is only when you start performing differently in your current roles and venturing into new ones that you will know.
Do you want to strengthen your behavioural capability and become more assertive?
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