When Andy Cohen Wray begin learning NLP 18 months ago, none of us knew where it would take him. Working for Heathrow Airport at the time, Andy was a keen sportsman and had done some hurdling competitions, deep in the back of his mind though was an idea. Fascinated by the psychology of sports people, Andy had a dream to run his own business, coaching runners and professional athletes to get their minds in shape for their best performance in the sport they loved.
In a healthy workplace:
- Conversations are mainly about the work, not about other people, complaining or moaning
- Conflicts are dealt with appropriate, not ignore or left to fester
- Management and Leadership role model healthy behaviour
- People feel as if they can come forward if they’ve made a mistake
- You won’t hear lots of teasing and banter, this is a form of shaming that in unhealthy
- Outbursts, meltdowns and strops are an exception when someone is really under pressure
- There isn’t a competition to stay later than the boss or other people
- People are respectful without being overly ‘nice’. People should feel able to express dissatisfaction appropriately.
A healthy workplace is all about the culture, so if you are a leader or HR professional in an unhealthy workplace culture, going after the perceived troublemakers will not help you to correct it. Yes you need to deal with bad behaviour but you also need to look at the more subtle, covert behaviour going on which defines the culture of your organisation – the accepted norms. Things to look out for include:
- People gossiping or being allowed to put down other people in meetings
- Private ‘in’ jokes that exclude some people
- Cliques and sub groups
- Animosity between departments, especially those that need to work together
- Too many people having intimate relationships in the workplace, particularly if it’s obvious in the workplace, going to lunch together, private chats etc
- People hiding mistakes (if it’s a lot of people not just one or two, it’s a cultural issue)
- Any kind of bullying behaviour
If this is happening in your organisation the first thing to do is to avoid getting drawn into participating. Set a role model for being healthy and then you and your senior team need to think about how you can strategically make cultural changes and set new healthy norms. Not only will you workplace be healthier and more enjoyable, you’ll also all be much more productive!
Training your managers and leaders in NLP will help them understand these dynamics more thoroughly, so they won’t get blindsided by them. Learning NLP will also help leaders, managers and HR professional develop more choices about how to deal with difficult behaviour and relationship issues at work.
Founder of Monkey Puzzle and an INLPTA NLP Master Trainer, Karen is also a UKCP registered Psychotherapist and author of the award winning book Real Leaders for the Real World. Her new book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever is out now.