How to understand workplace behaviour?

What comes to mind when you think of the term ‘psychology’?

Mental health issues? Relationship counselling? Maybe you have some sort of vague idea of what it’s all about but you aren’t really sure.

Psychology does encompass mental health and relationship issues but it is also much broader than that. It is the scientific study of the relationship between the mind and behaviour and is neither positive or negative.

Anne Lytle

Anne Lytle

What makes you tick?

Many of our beliefs and values are formed in childhood. The thoughts and feelings we develop then can become a major influence on the things we do throughout our lives.

For example, you might have moved homes and schools many times as a child. How you and those around you responded at that time may have played a large role in shaping the person you are today. On the one hand, you may find it easy to meet new people and adapt to new situations, or, you might value stability and be a bit introverted. You might even be holding onto some resentment after all these years.

We rarely sit down to analyse those early influential factors in depth. However, having a clear understanding of what drives our behaviour can help us to better understand the nature of our relationships, emotions and choices.

We don’t live in a vacuum

“Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.”

Newton’s third law

In other words, everything we do affects others in some way.

It’s easy to get caught up in our own world and become blind to how our behaviour affects others. For example, forgetting people’s names or not acknowledging their contributions might seem insignificant to you, but these oversights can be condescending or hurtful to others.

As leaders and team members, we need to be especially conscious of the effect our words and actions (or lack of them) have on those around us. Actively fostering a workplace culture where everyone shows genuine empathy and respect for each other has positive flow-on effects in areas like efficiency and productivity.

If you’re having trouble with, or would just like to improve, your communication and relationships with others, then you may find it helpful to chat to a counsellor or clinical psychologist. They can help you sort through your thoughts and work out better ways to approach things.

Get the team involved

Many counsellors offer workplace programs for individuals and groups. These might only be needed for a few sessions to help deal with things like conflict or rapid change. Or, they may be used as part of an ongoing positive workplace program.

Areas counsellors can help with include:

  • Individual career counselling

  • Workplace conflict

  • Trauma management

  • Communication and leadership skills

  • Performance management

  • Organisational change

  • Cross-cultural relationships

Workplace counselling programs can also help individual employees who are experiencing issues at home (whether or not these are affecting their work).

In Australia, organisations can access free counselling services through the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – an Australian Government initiative. The services are offered through suitably qualified counsellors and practices. Programs can include over-the-phone or face-to-face counselling for individuals, group sessions and management training services. Counsellors can help to develop mental health strategic plans and policies.

Even if you are not the boss, or you work for yourself, career or workplace counsellors can help you and those around you find the focus and direction to boost your performance and move ahead in leaps and bounds.

Call to action…

To hear from a master of organisational communication and negotiation, be sure to listen to The Mentor List’s podcast interview with Professor Anne Lytle. Currently the Professor and Director of the Monash Business School at Monash University, Anne also has a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology and Behaviour and a PhD in Organisational Behavior – specialising in negotiation and dispute resolution. She has taught, presented, and consulted in organisations and universities across the globe.

In her interview, Anne shares the story of her amazing and diverse career along with many tips you can take on board and use to enhance your own careers and relationships. Her aim in life is to help others do better – and that includes you! Click on the link to hear what she has to say.

Kick start your personal journey to success from the conversations David has with his inspirational guests on The Mentor List.

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