Change Ripple

Managing People behaviour and performance

Narinder Sharma

Do you work with human beings? Do you sometimes wonder how to bring the best in the people? And do you understand the ’cause and effect relationship between people behaviour, performance and results they produce?

If you have answered ‘Yes’ to any of the questions, then read on, in this article, we will discuss people management, how to bring out the best in the people and how to use human behaviours to achieve measurably superior results.

Influence behaviour for performance management.

Change Ripple Effect
Ripple Effect

Metaphorically running good organisations is like playing Jazz; it requires both influential leaders and good players. Leaders pick the music and set the tone, and they choose the player (people) who perform for the audience (customers), while leaders orchestrate the symphony.

All leaders and most managers work with people and are hence subject to laws of human behaviour. Over the ages, managers have tried and tested several different manners to manage people to get the desired results. Most managers try various management approaches and techniques until they find the one they like, sometimes these work, others don’t. Some managers try management by exception, thriving on chaos, and management by objectives.

While many are eager to try out their personal “management style”. We should ask the question, can an organisation be run efficiently – if all of its managers have their unique management styles, and how will that support the company’s values and mission? Or will these hundreds of individual management styles create more confusion and inefficiency throughout the organisation?

Moreover, to make matters worse – today, we are surrounded by tons of fads and notions offering short-term gains, quick solutions and workaround to attain short-term goals. Most of these are not sustainable and wears-off quickly, then managers feel obliged to jump to another newer fad. This cycle creates both unfulfilled, unsatisfied employees and underperforming organisations.

Then it is also easy to fall into the trap of process & frameworks, which is evident from a large number of leaders & managers failing to acknowledge the fact that the people are the very engine of the business turbine.

Best way to run an organisation is the best way to treat people.

To obtain measurably superior results in the workplace, the manager must understand why people behave in a certain way. Bringing the best in the people and achieving measurably superior results requires a clear and precise understanding of human behaviour. Good managers & leaders know that positive methods (enforcements) are better than negative consequences in workplaces.

‘Cause and Effect’ relationship and behaviourism.

Behaviourism explains human behaviour and responses in terms of learned behaviours. It originated with Ivan Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiment, in which they were able to condition the dogs to respond to a new stimulus, the bell and salivate as they heard the sound regardless of the meat. Another behavioural scientist – B.F. Skinner, with Operant conditioning experiments, showed how reinforcement could be used to tailor required behaviour using external stimuli.

Today positive reinforcements are seen as a useful tool for changing behaviour to attain superior results. Managers can use rewards, recognition, and reinforcement techniques to alter employees’ behaviour and enhance organisational productivity.

Growing, retaining and looking out for your people is vital to creating a sustainable enterprise.

Gail Fuller

Leaders must understand what motivates employees to work hard & smart and what discourages them from achieving their potential. Use rewards and recognitions to enhance employee motivation and remove the distractions and demotivators for them to manage their behaviour and thus performance. Reinforcement & punishments can both be positive & negative, depending upon what you add or take away.

You find that positive reinforcement works much better than punishments. In successful organisations, leaders & managers understand the human aspect of workers and treat employees as valuable assets to achieve goals, making them feel like part of a special group. Successful managers do not just interact with people only when a process demands they do but build relationships, whether that is by the coffee machine or in a more formal setting. Goof leaders actively seek their opinions and ideas instead of passively listening to employees’ voices.

Great businesses are built on great relationships, and your people are the most important people of all.

Gail Fuller

Today we understand positive reinforcement makes it more likely that the behaviour will occur again in the future, repeating this strengthens a particular response or behaviour. Positive enforcement can be as simple as a pat on the back, acknowledging good work, thumbs-up, giving a high five, clapping, cheering and praising publicly and privately. It need not be financial and monetary; on the contrary, studies have shown that employee value & prefer meaningful recognition. Leaders must first identify the good behaviour they wish to reinforce, then apply positive enforcement stimulus.

It is about creating a positive environment where everyone feels their opinion is valued and honest discussions are encouraged. When an organisation wants to grow or boost quality, productivity, or even creativity, it must seek to alter people’s behaviour. People’s behaviour derives organisational accomplishments by using positive reinforcements. The cause of the behaviour pattern depends on the stimulus immediately after the behaviour (reinforcement), which can be used to optimise desirable behaviours.


Bringing out the best in people: by Aubrey Daniels