Good leaders change their minds – the Behavior Change Canvas
We tend to fall into our old habits and familiar response patterns. This can be counterproductive when the environment of a team brings out the worst in us. If we want to level up and improve interactions with our team, we should reflect on our behavior patterns and work on reducing those that are not constructive. The Behavior Change Canvas will help you to better understand your needs and the beliefs that are at the root of your behavior and to formulate a response that, once practiced, will help you to replace your old behaviors, thoughts and beliefs with new ones that will serve you better.
Here are some tips on how to work on your personal growth in 3 steps. These will also help you fill out the Behavior Change Canvas (see below):
Awareness is the first step. Being aware of patterns in our behavior is essential in order to overcome negatively perceived reactions and behaviors that do not serve us.
1) Listening: Train your active listening skills. In most of our conversations, we have the illusion that we are listening when we focus on creating our response based on part of what our conversation partner has said. Try listening throughout the day. Do you recognize patterns?
2) Breathing (Box Breathing): An effective way to calm our nervous system and bring us back to the moment is through breathing exercises. Here’s how it works:
a. Inhale for 4 seconds
b. Hold your breath for 4 seconds
c. Exhale for 4 seconds
d. Pause for 4 seconds before beginning to breathe in again
3) Mindfulness, full awareness in the present moment: before you react and jump to conclusions, try to be fully present in your room. One exercise that helps me ground myself is to perceive my surroundings actively. How does the chair feel that you’re sitting on, the clothes you’re wearing, how is your body feeling, is there a scent in the air, …?
Many of our actions are triggered by underlying beliefs and influenced by our mindset.
Example: If we hold a belief that focuses on a fixed mindset in an area, e.g. if someone in your team is doing well or has a great idea, we see it as a threat to our own position and reputation on the team.
It is worth addressing these emotions to find out what underlying belief or need is not being met and therefore triggering a negative stress response, e.g. in this case, it could be the need for appreciation or a lack of self-worth.
1) Recognize patterns: Look for patterns in your behavior. Does a situation sound familiar to you? Write down your observations for a week.
Have a look at the first upper left quadrant of the canvas and write down a behavior you would like to work on. Then try to understand where this behavior is coming from. Is there a need that is not being met, do you feel attacked or are you scared deep down? Be kind to yourself as you evaluate. Awareness is the first step to change.
PRACTICE A NEW RESPONSE
Now it is time to think about how you want to respond to achieve a better outcome – to practice a new behavior:
Example: Instead of feeling threatened by your colleague’s success, your growth mindset response would be to practice seeing the success of others as an inspiration and as a sign that you can also achieve even more. Life is not a zero-sum game in which someone else’s success would diminish your own. You might congratulate them on their achievement (positive behavior for the upper right quadrant). In the lower right quadrant, you could add a growth mindset belief, e.g. because my colleague is successful, we are winning as a team / I can do it too / I am inspired by this.
By completing the form, you have created a plan on how to react if a similar situation occurs and you can use this as a step-by-step guide to help you practice your new behavior.
There are situations in which you will be affected by another person’s behavior. Use this canvas to take ownership of your response and emotions. Try it out and see how this will impact your well-being and your environment.
Download your version of the Behavior Change Canvas here.
What are your experiences in achieving successful culture transformation?
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