How to change people

If people are not thinking, behaving and acting the way you want, your first question might be – What’s wrong with them?

The question you really need to be asking though is – Is there something wrong with the environment?

People are often products of the environment they have to work (or live) in. The environment is heavily influenced by leaders within the organization. To remain “safe”, employees will adjust their behaviour based on the culture leadership has created. So if you want to change how employees are acting, check to see what the environment is promoting.

If you want to encourage people to help one another, ensure that you are providing opportunities for people to work together, rewarding people when they do, and are not focusing on internal competition which pits people against one another.

If you want people to respect one another more, be certain you and others take accountability for actions.

If you want employees to speak up and provide their opinions, ensure that they are given chances to do so, and when they do, praise them. Never punish or ignore contributions.

If you want people to be more committed to the organization and its goals, make sure that they are personally meaningful to employees.

If you want employees to be more engaged, make sure they feel appreciated and provide them with personal growth opportunities.

You can never change people; that choice always remains theirs. But as a leader, you can change the environment, and often that’s enough.