One of the things I’ve been studying recently is learning theory; how we all build up our models of the world based on our environment, and in particular, other peoples’ behaviour.
I’m very interested in how this can be applied in a work context. For instance, I was very lucky in the early part of my career in that I had some great managers. I learnt, from their example, what it was like to be a good manager, and as a result I picked up (I hope!) some positive behaviours, such as respect for other people, a conscientious approach to work and a willingness to accept responsibility.
Actually, it’s my opinion that these personal characteristics are the most important in a manager, and all the best people that I have worked all had two clear things in common – integrity and honesty.
On the flipside of this, a poor manager can cause untold damage to an organisation, since staff (particularly those who aren’t very experienced), learn that you can prosper in the organisation regardless of how you behave.
I suspect that there are whole companies out there full of people who are only concerned for their own careers, and do whatever it takes to get to the top. I’ve never (fortunately) had to work anywhere like this, but I would imagine that it’s not pleasant.
I think I would struggle to work in a place where people got promoted not on merit, but on their ability to undermine colleagues and claim other peoples’ credit for their own. When you see this sort of negative behaviour being rewarded, it has a huge impact on morale.
Also, I’ve seen instances where people have moved from an organisation which was full of negative behaviours to one which had a more positive culture and there’s no doubt they have been very confused about how to behave! I’m sure this would be the case for people moving in the other direction too.
I suppose the point of all this is to think about the way you are managed and to consider whether you think your organisation values the right things.
What sort of example are you receiving from your organisation’s senior people? And, what sort of example are YOU setting?