The impact of attitude and behavior on each other is a closed loop.
Natasha's boss mistrusted her. This wasn't because she was incompetent – rather, it seemed to be a matter of principle for him. He spent most of the day watching people to make sure they did their work correctly. He watched the clock to ensure that everyone's lunch hour was exactly one hour long. He even checked their mailboxes to make sure they weren't receiving personal messages.
Not surprisingly, Natasha and her colleagues resented their boss's mistrust. As a result, they stopped making decisions for themselves; they just asked him what he wanted when a decision had to be made, and they stopped taking responsibility for what they were doing. This reinforced the boss's belief that they weren't capable of working under their own initiative.
Have you ever seen a cyclical pattern of behavior like this in your workplace? It's common in organizations, and it's illustrated in a simple model called the Betari Box.
In this article, we'll show you what the Betari Box is, and you'll learn how to use it to improve the mood of your workplace.
The Betari Box, seen in Figure1, is a model that helps us understand the impact that our own attitudes and behaviors have on the attitudes and behaviors of the people around us.
Our attitude plays a large role in the behavior we exhibit. When we're feeling motivated and positive, we smile, we compliment our team, and we empower those around us. When we're feeling negative, the reverse is often true – we can be impatient, we get angry at our people, and we might even yell or argue.
These behaviors often affect the people around us. They then turn those negative behaviors back on us, and the conflict gets worse.
Although the idea of the Betari Box is quite simple, understanding it can help people learn to recognize when they're stuck in a negative cycle.
Using the Betari Box is all about recognizing negative cycles, and making a change within yourself to break out of them. The following examples show what can happen when you are – or are not – willing to make this change.
Imagine that your drive to work is very stressful. The longer you sit in traffic, the more frustrated you become – and by the time you get to the office, you're in a negative mood.
Your attitude causes you to use inappropriate negative behaviors. Your temper is short, so you yell at your assistant and then shout at a colleague when you discover a mistake in the report she just gave you.
Your negative behavior, in turn, affects your assistant and colleague. They are upset by your attitude and behavior, and they then repeat them in other negative ways. Your assistant is sulky and unhelpful for the next few hours, and your colleague is sarcastic and resentful towards you as well. No real communication takes place.
Imagine that it's just after lunch. You've had your negative drive into work, and you've already yelled at your assistant and your colleague.
As you sit at your desk angry, you realize that this all started with something incredibly silly: your drive into work. After thinking about this, you decide to exit the cycle. You begin by offering your assistant a genuine apology, which he accepts with a smile. You also apologize to your colleague, and you offer to work with her on the report to improve it. She also accepts your apology, and she thanks you for being willing to help fix her mistake.
The end result: productive, meaningful communication can now take place, simply because you were willing to stop your negative thinking and step out of the cycle.
The next day, your commute is just as bad, but you use relaxation techniques in your car, and you make a real effort to be positive as you go into the office. You greet your assistant and your colleague warmly. Soon they're pleasant back to you, and you all have a positive, enjoyable, productive day.
With the Mind Tools Club, you get much, much more than you do here for free.
And we'll give you the 4 workbooks above when you join!
Learn on the move with the free Mind Tools iPhone, iPad and Android Apps. Short bursts of business training ideal for busy people.