Whether it’s procrastinating too long on social media, or checking personal emails at work, most of us have experienced a lack of self-control in the workplace. But are we creating a culture of impulsive, poor decision makers?
Professor of Business Psychology at the University of NSW, Christopher Jackson thinks we are, and says the business culture of 'results at all costs' is breeding what he calls 'workplace monsters' – in other words, colleagues who lack self-control in the workplace, yet are on their way to obtaining senior leadership roles.
A lack of self-control amongst employees can be the bane of your business. Research has shown individuals who exhibit more self-control are better at resisting temptation, avoiding impulsivity or unethical behaviour, and practising patience. Poor self-control can lead to risk-taking and shortcuts, which is a drain on productivity and performance.
But how does one teach employees to have better self-control, and is the onus of responsibility on employers to do that?
Professor Jackson says in order to improve self-control, it's important to focus on long term goals in a business, and to do the right thing, for the right reasons, as opposed to taking shortcuts or only focusing on short term goals. It is essential employees set suitable long term goals and are recognised and rewarded for achieving them. Furthermore, employers should encourage workers to meet goals as a group or team, rather than simply focusing on individual goals. This will increase participation in your business.
Organisations should focus on doing things ethically and for the right reasons, as opposed to just trying to meet targets, and they should be rewarded for acting ethically and upholding corporate responsibility, rather than just being rewarded for performance and meeting goals. The process is as important as the results.
Unethical or impulsive behaviour can damage a company’s reputation, but it can also affect the morale and productivity of employees. Adhering to ethical standards and encouraging the same from workers creates an ethical business culture. When leaders of organisations have high ethical standards, this has a trickle-down effect, and encourages employees to meet the same standards. Leader morale determines what is acceptable and unacceptable in the workplace; it is important leaders recognise and reward ethical behaviour in workers and discipline those who engage in unethical behaviour.
Having a purely results driven agenda can be detrimental to your business. Effective organisations encourage self-control, team communication and good process. It's integral to the success of an organisation that leaders pay equal consideration to workplace culture and employee behaviour. This will ensure your workplace has an organisational culture that embraces ethical behaviour and doing things the right way, for the right reasons.