DO YOU often struggle with the “inadequacies” of others who seem to be hindering your ability to succeed? Do you sometimes feel that if you could change the attitudes or perceptions of those around you, you could be more effective, successful and fulfilled in your work, business and even relationships.
You may complain and sometimes attempt to change other people, telling them how they should act. But can you really change others?
The truth is you cannot. But the good news is that you already have everything you need to succeed, and you can influence behaviours, attitudes and even competencies. One of the biggest hindrances to your peak performance is rooted in emotions — yours and those of others around you.
If you understand the inner workings of group culture and the emotions that nurture it, you can harness your greater self.
A person’s internal emotions may be the exact opposite of his external demeanour. For example, an employee may be very nice to his supervisor, yet inside he may have very negative feelings about his manager and the company. His internal emotions will affect his performance, but more importantly, they affect the overall effectiveness of the group he works in.
In a Directive Communication International (DCI) study done in 2007 involving the marketing, human resource and finance departments of 72 similar organisations (seven had undergone DC culture enhancement programmes), it confirmed that an enhanced workforce is greater than the sum of its parts.
The study states: “If there are 100 employees in an organisation with a poor corporate culture, they will produce the work of 63. In an average work culture, they will do the work of 100, but in a leadership-enriched culture, they produce the work of up to 159 employees.”
The primary reasons given in interviews that made the difference between a “poor” culture and a “leadership-enriched” culture were emotional gratification and fulfilment in their job and in the workplace.
For example, 72 per cent of employees from the leadership-enriched culture felt they were an important part of the organisation, compared to only 16 per cent from poor cultures. Another 79 per cent felt their job provided them opportunities to grow as individuals, compared to only 28 per cent from poor cultures.
This means that those organisations who paid attention to their corporate culture reaped the benefits of harnessing the group dynamics of an emotionally powerful environment while those who didn’t got employees working at levels below their real abilities.
Cause and effect
The impact of each individual’s emotional state is not isolated to that person’s performance or even to the performance of the immediate people around them. Each individual affects and is affected by the entire organisational culture.
“Reaction” is the absence of “intelligent action”, and a reaction in one individual will affect a reaction in others. Thus, it affects the entire group.
Much of what hinders your peak performance comes from negative emotions, and these are spawned by broken expectations. When your expectations are not met, you tend to look for external reasons to justify your failure. To gain temporary emotional gratification, you blame others.
These emotions cause reactions that eventually become habitual in a particular environment. People even become physically addicted to emotions they feel regularly, like stress, and they subconsciously create more of such emotions. Hence, a corporate culture is born.
If the culture doesn’t bring out the best in the group, or if there is no guideline for what your group culture should be, then you will seldom harness your best qualities and those of the other emotional beings in your team.
But how do you manage emotions as an emotional being? You don’t. You manage the environment to nurture more intelligent actions and reduce knee-jerk reactions.
Your peak performance starts with the realisation that you are the master of your own success. Others have nothing to do with your failure; it is just easier to blame others to feel better about yourself.
Bring out your best
The first step is to realise that every action you take, every decision you make, no matter how small, will affect the group. Whether it is positive or negative, there will be an effect.
Second, when any individual in a group reacts, it will affect you and each of the other group members.
The beginning of change is in your awareness about what you do and how you react to your environment. Only when you delve into how emotions affect you and those around you can change happen. Then, you will make progress not only in your work and effectiveness, but also in your humanity.