The business of behavior

Smiling while doing a radio interview even though no one can see you will help you come across more positively. If you need something done, give it to a busy person. Give of yourself and what you get back will be tenfold. All of these sayings reflect what Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Happiness is not a goal, it is a byproduct.”Expanding on what Eleanor Roosevelt understood, the byproduct of a fulfilling work culture is better workplace behavior, which also can fuel our happiness. Likewise, our workplace behavior can shape our companies’ culture, productivity and results.Whether it’s individuals pursuing balance and doing what they love, or companies creating a vision of the future, a new self-awareness is taking hold in our lives and our workplaces, and it is a powerful force. Both the firm and the worker seek happiness, and if they are one in that pursuit, the possibilities are endless.There is a shift happening at work toward the empowered organization and distributed leadership, where everyone can use influence and relationships to be productive. Yet this shift is difficult for those who don’t have the relationship skills or perspective to enact these changes.For example, the engineer who has great technical skills who is now responsible for running a million-dollar project and a staff of 20 people will have a difficult time being successful without positive team behaviors, a different set of relational skills and different kind of leadership. The success of that project will depend on how people behave.Several decades ago, the team concept was all over corporate America. Some people adapted quickly to working in teams while others struggled with the transition. Just a decade ago, I used to teach graduate students about teamwork. Today, a typical student already has experienced the productivity and pitfalls of working or leading a team. They already know the mechanics of teamwork, but in many cases, still struggle with how to behave in one.

Learning and adoptingWhile the team concept continues to be a part of our corporate lexicon, actually being productive as a team is an entirely different matter.The behavior issue comes in when we have to give feedback, solve a relational issue, discuss performance or deal with more severe issues, like workplace bullying. The solution to improving leadership and teamwork is improving how we relate and behave ourselves and adapting our emotional intelligence skills, resulting in better corporate citizenship.While we have relied on our institutions, companies and society to provide us guidelines for our pursuit of fulfillment, we can really only have complete control over ourselves, which frames how the world relates to us.Therefore, working on our own emotional and behavioral intelligence can lead to our own personal fulfillment and accelerate our productiveness.Emotional intelligence helps us learn, recognize and manage relational situations. Once we have this awareness, we can begin to mentor each other to be collectively better.The changes that are taking place will help us all adapt to better behaviors. Generational changes are forcing us to re-examine how we relate with each other and adapt new methods to being productive. Information freedom and access are allowing us to learn freely and adapt knowledge readily. Taking responsibility for our own learning and professional careers is helping us be more responsible for ourselves, and the social networking trends and tools are helping to accelerate the pace of relationship growth and improve our relational behaviors overall.If happiness is a by-product of our corporate cultures, then learning and adopting behaviors that influence culture are the imperative to improving our collective productivity. By improving ourselves through better relationships, behavior, self-awareness and understanding of our own emotional intelligence, we will positively affect our personal and collective futures.Dr. Russ Ouellette, managing partner of Sojourn Partners, a Bedford-based executive leadership coaching firm, is project manager of the Future of Everything. Core project participants on this topic included Tammy Hildreth and Paul Philbrick, co-founders of Network for Work, Dennis Delay, an economist with N.H. Center for Public Policy Studies and Elyse Barry, a partner with Sojourn Partners. For more information, contact 603-472-8103