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LEADERSHIP ACADEMY

'It’s how you do it that matters'

  • 13 Comments

A first step in addressing any behaviour is understanding why people do or don’t do it - what they get from doing it as opposed to doing something else, and what prevents them from doing the behaviour you’re trying to encourage.

Those in authority sometimes tend to give out “medicine” based on what they feel is “best”. This is a mistake: people won’t do something unless they see there is some value in doing it. Make it clear − in terms of benefits that they clearly see - what doing it will achieve.

Reasons need not be about narrow self-interest. Nurses are traditionally altruistic, and will be motivated by things such as being able to deliver better patient care.

Don’t assume the benefits are clear, particularly at a time of increased stress for the profession. Spend time understanding your team to ensure you can provide reasons they care about.

You’d be surprised how many managers don’t make it clear what they want their teams to do - because it’s too abstract or ambitious, or they don’t understand it themselves.

Articulate a clear behaviour goal that you can explain and measure easily. If you have a good understanding of those you expect to do it, they’ll be able to achieve it.

As a manager, your job would be a lot easier if your team was formed of similar personalities, all of whom could be encouraged to do things in the same way.

But individual personalities vary drastically. For some, information communicated verbally or in writing will be enough. But for many, this won’t do. You may alienate the more anti-authoritarian; even the best intentioned may struggle − the burden of everyday life, or the appeal of simply carrying on as before, should not be underestimated.

If you’ve spent time understanding your team and have a proper grasp of their needs and values, you’ll be able to employ a range of methods that suit them best.

If, for example, a lack of confidence is a barrier, you can introduce some training. If it’s too great a workload, you can do some reorganisation. These will be much more effective than a prescriptive approach - and will have the added benefit of bringing people with you, rather than dragging them behind.

For some people or issues, you may not be the best person to deliver your message. If you don’t have credibility with your team on a particular issue, don’t be the one to deliver the message - find someone who has.

Finally, understanding your team may reveal shortcomings in your approach. If you want to sustain change, you must be ready to do things differently.

John Bromley is director of the NSMC (thensmc.com). He has 20 years’ experience of managing complex behaviour change programmes. He has worked at the Department of Health, setting up the Social Marketing Development Unit and developing national clinical strategies.

  • 13 Comments

Readers' comments (13)

  • michael stone

    'A first step in addressing any behaviour is understanding why people do or don’t do it - what they get from doing it as opposed to doing something else, and what prevents them from doing the behaviour you’re trying to encourage.'

    SPOT ON ! I've been trying to do that for certain EoLC behaviours and beliefs for 2 years. But it is ruddy hard, when people simply won't tell you what they do believe is correct, and why the hold those beliefs !

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  • Michael, give the eolc debate a rest will you! It got tiresome the first time round!

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  • michael stone

    mike, I will give it a rest, when you give your 'nurses deserve more respect' issue a rest.

    I agree that on the whole, nurses probably deserve more respect - but not unqualified respect.

    We are both committed to what we see as reasonable and necessary objectives.

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  • michael stone

    What happened to this dental nurse seriously annoys me !

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2043672/ANNA-SMITH-Sorry-Abby-Podmore--little-Alfie-deserved-better.html

    I am just as annoyed by this sort of behaviour, as nurses are by being 'disrepected' !

    Disrespect works both ways !

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  • michael stone | 4-Oct-2011 11:20 am

    What's your point here?! You post a story, on a Nursing site, from the Daily Mail, which states clearly that this poor child died as the result of a Doctor's mistake! Tarring everyone with the same brush is pretty typical of the moronic mind-set that typifies your comments.

    " But it is ruddy hard, when people simply won't tell you what they do believe is correct, and why the hold those beliefs !"

    How about turning the mirror on yourself!!!

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  • mike | 3-Oct-2011 9:27 pm

    "Michael, give the eolc debate a rest will you! It got tiresome the first time round"

    HEAR, HEAR

    I wish this Stone person would just go away and take his comments elswhere! He has no place in the nursing debates and fails to recognise and accept the negative and irritating effects of his own online behaviour although he has already been told on many occasions!

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  • if nurses here do not wish to comment on eolc why should they?

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  • ...and furthermore why should nurses be criticised for not commenting on eolc, and especially when it is not the topic of the article as has been the case on many occasions Michael Stone.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 4-Oct-2011 6:15 pm

    The point is that Abby was arrested because of things other people had done, while she had done nothing at all wrong.

    The problem, is the mindset of the Police, when confronted by deaths of unknown cause - but nurses, paramedics and doctors are involved in patient care, and patient death.

    Anonymous | 4-Oct-2011 7:46 pm

    I am not saying anyone has to comment about anything - I am agreeing with the start of this piece:

    'A first step in addressing any behaviour is understanding why people do or don’t do it'

    and if nobody will explain what they believe, and why they believe it, it is impossible to even make a sensible start to the analysis of questions like 'Why was Abby arrested ?'

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  • michael stone

    The Coroner is also reported to have said this:

    At Birmingham coroners’ court, Judge Aidan Cotter condemned police for the way in which they showed ‘no compassion’ and that, in her shoes, he ‘probably would have gone round and thumped a police officer’.

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