Friday, February 8, 2013

Observing Your Behaviour – A Key Competency to Achieve Results

The other day I was coaching a line manager who was ‘frustrated’ because the staff member did not ‘do’ what she had asked. The line manager’s language “she is hopeless, doesn’t follow instructions and doesn’t listen”; Mood “angry and frustrated”; Physiology “arms folded, shoulders forward, raised voice”. Behaviour – accused staff member of being incompetent.  Result – staff member shocked, angry and upset and not too sure what she had done wrong.

Does this sound familiar? How often do you observe your own ‘Way of Being’ and how often have you reflected back on a situation and wished you had dealt with it differently? Wished you had ‘said’ or ‘done’ something else?
In the above scenario, if the line manager had observed her ‘Way of Being’ before she spoke to the staff member she could have ‘shifted her way of being’ and achieved a different result. By this I mean she could have observed her own language, noticed her mood and how she was holding her body. She could have still talked to the staff member about the issue but done it in a way that maintained the respect and legitimacy of her and the staff member.

The following model is taken from the work of Alan Sieler (2005) with permission and has been used by myself and my business partner Anne Courtney as a way of describing a key competency for leaders - 'Observing our Way of Being'

The model starts at the bottom left and suggest that if we can observe our ‘Way of Being’, our language, emotion and physiology, which in turn reflects the way in which we observe/perceive the world, which in turn drives our behaviour and therefore the results we get in life. If we can make shifts in our ‘Way of Being’ (Language, Emotion and Physiology) we are able to better serve ourselves and others. The practice of observing ourselves is key competency in being an effective leader. For a conversations on how I can support you to be a more effective observer of yourself contact me at

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