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How Organizational Citizenship Behavior Can Make All Team Members Become Change Champions

The top down attitude approach to transform teams

When it comes to successful organizational change, attitude matters. Fostering a culture of organizational citizenship behavior could transform your business, and create the environment in which change is not simply accepted, but is promoted by all.

Negative attitudes breed change failure

John Kotter, the father of modern change management thinking and processes, maintained that up to 90% of change projects will probably fail to meet their objectives due to human factors such as attitudes and behaviors.

Negativity is the breeding ground of failure. The potential effects of a change initiative can play havoc with emotions (such as the uncertainty and anxiety caused by concern over job security, the changing nature of work, and relationships at work). This creates a damaging environment of “What’s in it for me?”, as individuals work for personal advantage rather than team benefits.

The power of positive organizational citizenship behavior

If you can create a positive sense of team and togetherness ahead of change, the environment will be conducive to change. Instead of asking “What’s in it for me?”, your people will be asking “What’s in it for us?”.

This cultural shift in attitude is known as organizational citizenship behavior. People do things because they want to do things, and not because they either must or are rewarded to do so. They ‘go the extra mile’ and do more than is expected of them.

Benefits of organizational citizenship behavior

This positive attitude toward job and colleagues is evidenced in several ways. You’ll find that people are more willing to cooperate. They will offer advice and help to their colleagues not because of begrudging duty, but because of a strong untied bond to improve as a team. They will move from ‘dependable role performance’ to ‘innovation and spontaneity’.

At individual and team levels, organizational citizenship behavior is associated with improvement in:

  • Performance and productivity
  • Quality of work
  • Sales effectiveness
  • Staff turnover
  • Successful change initiatives

How can leaders create organizational citizenship behavior?

Organizational citizenship behavior has been well studied, and in 1988 Dennis Organ defined five common behaviors which lead to improved effectiveness and productivity. When organizations take a top down approach and its leaders exhibit these five behaviors, its people follow the new cultural paradigm. People become change agents, because it is in the nature of the business to be so.

The five common behaviors of organizational citizenship behavior

1.     Altruism

The desire to help others, without thought of reward for doing so. This improves inter-employee relationships, reduces stress, and increases productivity.

2.     Courtesy

Politeness toward and consideration of others. Leaders should be concerned about their people’s personal situations, as well as their professional advancement. Courtesy helps to create a friendlier environment conducive to enable positive employee interactions.

3.     Sportsmanship

A lack of negativity to negative situations and occurrences. Instead of recrimination and rejection because of mistakes made, encourage people to learn, improve, and progress, while supporting them to do so.

4.     Conscientiousness

A trait that is exhibited by discipline, self-control, and a desire to strive for perfection. Leaders should never ask their people to do what they would not do themselves.

5.     Civic virtue

In the business world, civic virtue describes how well one represents their organization outside of work. Leaders should, at all times, speak positively about their organization, sign up for business events outside of work, and provide a sense of community.

Do your leaders’ traits include these five common behaviors of organizational citizenship behavior? If they don’t, how can you expect their employees to outperform and become innovative, spontaneous change champions?

Develop the skills, strategies, and techniques that will drive your organization’s change leadership capabilities. To discover how a Change Agent Bootcamp and coaching in consulting and facilitating will help your organization and leaders produce lasting change, contact Forward Focus today.

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