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Read time8 mins

Group Generated Behaviour Protocols to Manage Psychosocial Risks

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Minimise toxic behaviours and psychosocial damage

Guide corporate culture through agreement

This video looks at the importance of workplace behaviours for employee wellbeing and suggests that mission, vision, value (MVV) statements are often too vague and distal to have a significant impact.

Research suggests that it is better to use corporate behaviours created through a group-generated behaviour protocol to guide workplace interactions.

By creating clear, observable behaviours that are specific to the workplace, leaders can guide their team in a way that is supportive, positive, and solution-focused.

Minimise toxic behaviours and psychosocial damage

Watch the video to understand how toxic behaviours can cause psychosocial damage, and how to create and use group-generated definitions of acceptable workplace behaviours to minimise negative actions and the risk of harm.

Watch the next video in this series here:

Part 8 – Effective Performance Development

And watch the previous video here:

Part 6 – The Use of Outcome Based Job Definitions

And if you know of anyone who would benefit from this video, please share it with them.

Video Transcript

Corporate culture

Hi, Andrew from SACS, and welcome to video number seven in our eight-video sequence on psychosocial risk.

This one’s all about behaviours.

In many ways, it’s fair to say that corporate culture, the term that we use, corporate culture, is all about behaviours.

In other words, if you’re in an environment where the behaviours are positive and supportive to you and optimistic and solution-focused, then you’re much more likely to be psychosocially well.

Where you have negative behaviours, that has a massive impact, particularly if it’s from your immediate colleagues.

It’s the proximal environment, the things that’s close to you that tends to affect your wellbeing very heavily.

Mission, vision, value (MVV) statements

So let’s start off by looking at mission, vision, value statements.

And in general, it’s fair to say that mission, vision value statements don’t work.

I mean, organisations have stated values, but they tend not to affect people’s behaviours and they don’t tend to relate that closely to wellbeing within the workplace, and there have been a range of studies that have demonstrated this over the years.

I know that a lot of people are very keen on MVVS or value statements, but they don’t tend to affect the workplace very significantly and there’s a very significant reason for that.

MVV’s don’t work

They tend to be vague.

In other words, they’ll use terms like act with integrity very often.

Well, what does that mean?

I mean, integrity in a bank might be different from integrity in a fish and chip shop, but also integrity itself is a concept.

When things are vague and conceptual, it’s hard for that to influence behaviours.

The other thing is that they tend to be distal.

And what I mean by that is that we are affected psychologically by things that are proximal to us, things that are close to us.

So, if I am sitting next to my trusted colleague and she behaves in a positive way towards me, then that’s likely to be positive.

If I’m sitting next to my trusted colleague and he or she is acting in a negative way to me, then that’s likely to have a big impact.

Missions, vision, value statements tend to be distant from the people in workplaces largely because when did they happen?

I mean, often they happened quite some time ago so that’s distancing of itself.

Who was it that created these things?

Well, that’s distancing.

But also sometimes the language is distancing because it talks in conceptual terms.

Now, the alternative is to make behaviours really specific and some organisations have chosen to take their value statement and to turn it into specific behaviours, but it’s specific behaviours that will actually work to improve behaviours in a workplace.

Group-generated behaviour protocol

The way of generating these that I’ve found to be most successful is through generating a thing called a group-generated behaviour protocol.

Now, you’re using model three facilitative leadership.

Basically, it’s about not telling people what to do.

It’s about running a process where they generate the behaviours themselves.

A group-generated behaviour protocol, sometimes called a self-generated behaviour protocol, is something that should be developed out of a group of people who work through an issue together.

And the issue might well be, firstly, let’s talk about what the optimum version of this team would be and then let’s talk about what behaviours will cause that to be the case.

And then what you do is that you split the group into small groups and they come up with behaviours and then basically you vote for those behaviours.

That’s a self-generated behaviour protocol.

Now, if the group is coached, guided, and facilitated well, the behaviour should be really specific.

We will turn up to our meetings on time.

When we need to make a decision that affects our colleagues, we’ll talk to them about that.

Those kinds of things are behaviours that are observable behaviours, and the more observable they are, the more likely they will work.

So the leader brings the process, not the solutions, and this is the kind of small group activity that you might undertake, so each small group to write down the behaviours that they will get them to the destination, i.e. the ideal version of the team and maybe also unhelpful behaviours.

Now, that’s an interesting one.

Above the line behaviours

Sometimes it can be really useful to just have the positive behaviours, but sometimes it’s not a bad idea to also specify the negative behaviours.

These are the behaviours that we want to see, sometimes called above the line behaviours.

These are the behaviours we don’t want to see.

These are the below the line behaviours.

Now, if the group has struggled with these negative behaviours and you’re really trying to call them out, maybe it’s worthwhile having both the positive behaviours and the negative behaviours identified by the staff.

But the process is either way you do it, whether it’s just the positive or the positive and the negative, is that the group votes for the behaviours that they think are the most important.

Firstly, they create them and then they vote for them.

Now, when you do this, what you’ll end up with is a really clear set of behaviours and I typically find, let’s say, between eight and 15 out of a group.

But those behaviours are then crucial because you can use those as a way of guiding the group.

After all, I’m the leader, but I didn’t come up with these.

My team came up with them, so I’m just supporting my team’s ideas of what behaviours are appropriate for this group.

Now, creating these behaviours in these ways, particularly if they’re then used in a practical sense, so you reward people and congratulate people on those behaviours.

If somebody’s acting in a way that’s contrary to the behaviours, you redirect them based on those behaviours.

You maybe use them as a way of reviewing the quality of your meetings.

Let’s look at a behaviour that we typically commit to.

Some people kind of rotate the behaviours one a month to focus on to make sure that they’re ingrained in the organisation.

These are all techniques about how to keep these behaviours alive.

360 degree feedback

Now, you can also sometimes turn these into 360 degree feedback.

So in effect, what you’re doing is that you’re deciding these behaviours are very important, so let’s create a management tool that will measure these behaviours and then people go through a 360 degree feedback.

After all, we’ve committed to these behaviours.

Why not see that these behaviours actually are in place?

Now, if you do all of this, you can optimise the behaviours and get more positive behaviours, less negative behaviours and that makes for a psychologically safer and more positive environment.

Now, the next and final video in the sequence is all about performance development.

We know that people, when they have effective performance development, they tend to be more psychosocially well than if you don’t have effective performance development.

We know, for instance, that employees will leave an organisation if they don’t get clear performance guidance.

So click on the link near this video to find out about how to run effective performance processes in your organisation to maximise psychosocial wellbeing.

Watch the next video in this series to find out more about Management of Psychosocial Risks:

Part 8 – Effective Performance Development

And watch the previous video here:

Part 6 – The Use of Outcome Based Job Definitions

And if you’d like some help with promoting psychosocial wellbeing, contact us about our Wellbeing Survey.

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