How to Change Bad Norms or Behaviors of your Team?

Changing Organization Cultures
Knowledge Center

Best Practices
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 MUTUAL RESPECT. The less you respect others, the less you will be respec...

  Kunal A Bhat
Consultant, India

Interest & Engagement

I have been there. Practically, what worked for me was some introspection: 1. GOAL - What was my goal - to change behav...

  Paramathmuni srinivas Kumar

Address the Heart of Issue First

To me any change initiative requires first to ADDRESS THE HEART OF THE ISSUE (read Values). If there's a conflict then i...

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

Apply a Sense-Making Approach to Change System Behavior

You can try conventional practices such as interviewing, setting goals and standards. Post principles on the wall. Add i...

  John Henry
Project Manager, United States

What to Do if Cultural Norms Conflict with Greatness

@Bernhard Keim: Yes Bernard, I think you were spot on with the norms and respect issues. When we have encouraged bad beh...

Consultant, Sudan

Analyze the Past to Change for the Future

We have to collect learned hard lessons when we found ourselves following bad habits. That's why our team needs to anal...

  Raza Usmani
ICT Consultant, Pakistan

Trainings and Demonstrations of Cultural Values to Educate in Proper Behavior

Leadership also includes TRAININGS and development of employees through demonstration of ethical and cultural values. To...

  Arif ur Rehman
Professor, Pakistan

Treat your Employees with Respect to Get Rid of Behavioral Issues

Whatever be the professional, corporate and social needs, an individual's behavior is reflected through the norms that a...

  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 take over a team, BEFORE YOU DECIDE you should surely have some insigh...

  Vincent Miholic
Manager, United States

What Got Us Here in the First Place?

Amen on "Live it" and paraphrased, "I knew what?... Before I took this job?" What got us to norms and behaviors? That's...

  Jeff Washburn
Strategy Consultant, United States

Gold Brick Dirty Brick Approach to Change Bad Behavior

A manager cannot tell in advance what effect any particular action will have. In fact, "good" behavior may not produce d...

  Salieu Bojang
Student (University), United States

Map-out a Process Flow to Change Wrong Behavior

Since "how" is representative of a process, then it's correct to say Grenny's 6 Step approach makes sense as it follows ...

  Doaa Saayed
Professor, Lebanon

Explain the Aim and Add an Element of Competition

As a teacher and lab assistant the best way is to explain in details the aim of the work and its importance in addition ...

  Misbah Mokaddem
Management Consultant, Lebanon

Dismantling Corruption in Public Administrations

When corruption has become the NORM in a public organization, and when it has become VALUED and even considered as a ‘SM...

Accountant, Jamaica

Are the Bad Behaviors of a Team Actually True?

My department is currently merging with another, we also have two bosses, one on the outside and the other is new. At fi...

  Naveed khalid
Accountant, Pakistan

Changing Bad Norms in your Team

- On #2 (Establish Support): If we have collected feedback then we don't always need to establish support. If we were ge...

  Annette Rattigan-Leo
Saint Lucia

Establishing Support for Changing Behavior is Very Important

It is important to gain support from above when attempting to change behavior. It becomes such a challenge when those ab...

  Bernhard Keim
Business Consultant, Germany

It Starts with a Changed Attitude

@John Henry: You mentioned it: It's about attitude that has to change first to make change happen. Attitude is very per...

  Philippe Barteau
Entrepreneur, France

First Accomplish Feedback and Support to Change Bad Team Behaviour

@Annette Rattigan-Leo: I agree in a tactical sense, getting Feedback (from your superiors and colleagues) and Support (f...

  John Henry
Project Manager, United States

The Behavior Has to 'Want to Change'

So if someone has a paycheck, and is doing nothing significant but complaining, they have a personal victory, they get s...

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

A New Paradigm: Behaviour Economics

@Dr.Abu-Gieseisa: The emerging practice of Behaviour Economics aka Nudging is based on complexity science. A top-down a...

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

Kotter’s 2 Change Processes

@Misbah Mokaddem: Be aware that Kotter has 2 change processes. - Kotter's Leading Change (1996) Process works in a trad...

Consultant, Sudan

Nudge Theory Summary

Nudge theory (aka nudge) is a concept in behavioural science, political theory and economics that aims to influence the ...

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

Examples of Nudging (Behavioural Ethics)

@Dr.Abu-Gieseisa: You can find some good examples in a study in the American Business Law Journal entitled Nudging Corpo...

Manager, Kenya

Organisational Change

Change is driven by power and influence to align people to a cause (good or bad). Organizations are political systems w...

  Gary Wong
Consultant, Canada

Nudge Theory Summary

In 2008 Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein co-authored the ground-breaking book Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, W...

  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 only way may be to 'dig deep' and fully understand what motivates them. I...

  Maurice Hogarth
Consultant, United Kingdom

Tips to Change Bad Behaving Teams to Good

To change the team’s behaviour, change the manager’s. Everyone works according to how they are managed. Try this:...


More on Changing Organization Cultures:
Why you Should Change an Organizational Culture Slowly
What is Organisational Culture?
The Leader's Role in Culture Change
Change in 3rd World Countries Vs. Developed World
🔥Shaping Organization Culture through Stories
Unoffical Leaders and Cultural Change
Organizational Development and Organizational Culture
Best Practices
How can we MEASURE Mindset Change?
Changing Organization Cultures: What is the Critical Element to Start?
👀How to Change Bad Norms or Behaviors of your Team?
Is Culture Change not Manipulating Employees?
Organization Cultures Have to Change
Culture Change and Coalitions
Engage People in Vision, Strategy and Culture Change
Changing Culture Through Working on TRUST
Organizational Culture and Intellectual Capital System
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: 5-7-2022. All names ™ of their owners.