How to Change Bad Norms or Behaviors of your Team?

Changing Organization Cultures
Knowledge Center

Best Practices

Sign up

Anneke Zwart
Student (University), Netherlands

How to Change Bad Norms or Behaviors of your Team?

I read an interesting article about changing bad norms or behavior. Suppose you're appointed as a new manager of a team that isn’t working hard enough or that is otherwise behaving in an objectionable, reprehensible way. Grenny (2017) provides some suggestions and/or steps to change bad behaviors/norms of your team effectively and with minimal resistance:
  1. FEEDBACK: First you should obtain feedback from a number of key figures in the organization to ensure that your concerns about the bad norms in your department are truly valid and do conflict with the organization’s policies. Your concerns should not be just a matter of your own subjective personal view on appropriate norms and values.
  2. ESTABLISH SUPPORT: Then you should investigate to what extent the bad norms are accepted throughout the team/organization. If, for example, people above you are supporting the bad behaviors, it will be difficult to change the behaviors. In that case it is necessary to first create active consent or even common cause among your boss and peers. Only with an adequate degree of support it is possible to take further steps.
  3. PUBLIC DIALOGUE: The third step is starting the conversation about the problems openly and publicly. Acknowledge your own vulnerability to negative norms while at the same time maintaining your ethical stand. Provide room for feedback and try to balance referring to those above and besides you, and making your own argument.
  4. FUTURE: Emphasize the fact that the past is the past and the future has to be the main focus.
  5. CONSENT VERSUS DISAGREEMENT: Of course, there will be people who comply with your arguments and principles, and people who don’t. Praise those who comply. But the probability that you will be tested — and the principles that were set could be violated — is high. As Grenny points out correctly: Human beings are social learners… They discern social norms mostly by watching what happens to others when they conform to or violate them. In those cases, confront the violator and impose fair sanctions calmly and decisively. Always emphsize that those sanctions aren’t personal, but rather about the principles that have been set.
  6. COMMUNICATE THE NEW PRINCIPLES: the last step is communicating the new norms and expected behavior. Involve your associates, because changing the norms will occur at the pace with which the associates will start to tell others about the new norms.
In my opinion, above steps can be a useful guide towards changing bad behaviors or norms without causing conflicts within your team and with yourself.

⇒ What do you think about aforementioned suggestions to bring about such changes?

Source: Grenny, J. (2017) “What to Do when you Inherit a Team that isn’t Working Hard Enough?” HBR June

  Bernhard Keim
Business Consultant, Germany

Changing Bad Norms Requires Guidance, Leadership and Respect

Talking about proper behaviour is talking about MU (...)

  Kunal A Bhat
Consultant, India

Interest & Engagement

I have been there. Practically, what worked for me (...)

  Paramathmuni srinivas Kumar

Address the Heart of Issue First

To me any change initiative requires first to ADDR (...)

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

Apply a Sense-Making Approach to Change System Behavior

You can try conventional practices such as intervi (...)

  John Henry
Project Manager, United States

What to Do if Cultural Norms Conflict with Greatness

@Bernhard Keim: Yes Bernard, I think you were spot (...)

Consultant, Sudan

Analyze the Past to Change for the Future

We have to collect learned hard lessons when we fo (...)

  Raza Usmani
ICT Consultant, Pakistan

Trainings and Demonstrations of Cultural Values to Educate in Proper Behavior

Leadership also includes TRAININGS and development (...)

  Arif ur Rehman
Professor, Pakistan

Treat your Employees with Respect to Get Rid of Behavioral Issues

Whatever be the professional, corporate and social (...)

  Ivan Kohlinsky
Management Consultant, United Kingdom

Assess your Team First Before you Accept Management Responsibility

It might be your own fault… When you are asked to (...)

  Vincent Miholic
Manager, United States

What Got Us Here in the First Place?

Amen on "Live it" and paraphrased, "I knew what?.. (...)

  Jeff Washburn
Strategy Consultant, United States

Gold Brick Dirty Brick Approach to Change Bad Behavior

A manager cannot tell in advance what effect any p (...)

  Salieu Bojang
Student (University), United States

Map-out a Process Flow to Change Wrong Behavior

Since "how" is representative of a process, then i (...)

  Doaa Saayed
Professor, Lebanon

Explain the Aim and Add an Element of Competition

As a teacher and lab assistant the best way is to (...)

  Misbah Mokaddem
Management Consultant, Lebanon

Dismantling Corruption in Public Administrations

When corruption has become the NORM in a public or (...)

Accountant, Jamaica

Are the Bad Behaviors of a Team Actually True?

My department is currently merging with another, w (...)

  Naveed khalid
Accountant, Pakistan

Changing Bad Norms in your Team

- On #2 (Establish Support): If we have collected (...)

  Annette Rattigan-Leo
Saint Lucia

Establishing Support for Changing Behavior is Very Important

It is important to gain support from above when at (...)

  Bernhard Keim
Business Consultant, Germany

It Starts with a Changed Attitude

@John Henry: You mentioned it: It's about attitud (...)

  Philippe Barteau
Entrepreneur, France

First Accomplish Feedback and Support to Change Bad Team Behaviour

@Annette Rattigan-Leo: I agree in a tactical sense (...)

  John Henry
Project Manager, United States

The Behavior Has to 'Want to Change'

So if someone has a paycheck, and is doing nothing (...)

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

A New Paradigm: Behaviour Economics

@Dr.Abu-Gieseisa: The emerging practice of Behavio (...)

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

Kotter’s 2 Change Processes

@Misbah Mokaddem: Be aware that Kotter has 2 chang (...)

Consultant, Sudan

Nudge Theory Summary

Nudge theory (aka nudge) is a concept in behaviour (...)

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

Examples of Nudging (Behavioural Ethics)

@Dr.Abu-Gieseisa: You can find some good examples (...)

Manager, Kenya

Organisational Change

Change is driven by power and influence to align p (...)

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

Nudge Theory Summary

In 2008 Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein co-author (...)

  Ivan Kohlinsky
Management Consultant, United Kingdom

Changing Bad Behaviors of your Team: Dig Deep and Find 'Hot Buttons'

I am afraid that in the recent environment the onl (...)

  Maurice Hogarth
Consultant, United Kingdom

Tips to Change Bad Behaving Teams to Good

To change the team’s behaviour, change the man (...)

Start a new topic


More on Changing Organization Cultures:
Special Interest Group

Do you have a keen interest in Changing Organization Cultures? Become our SIG Leader

Changing Organization Cultures
Knowledge Center

About 12manage | Advertising | Link to us / Cite us | Privacy | Suggestions | Terms of Service
© 2022 12manage - The Executive Fast Track. V15.8 - Last updated: 17-1-2022. All names ™ of their owners.