What’s it like being on the receiving end of you? | Behaviour |MFL Blog

“What’s it like being on the receiving end of you?” (Some thought provokers to get you thinking about you)

There is nothing that you can do about what I am about to share with you, in that what I am about to share with you impacts you every second, of every minute, of every hour of every day that you are alive on this planet.

It affects you right now, whilst you are reading this. It affects you every time you walk through your front door at the end of a busy day, and when you greet your husband, or wife, or partner, children, friends, flatmates, cat, dog, goldfish or whomever you share your life with.

It affects you every time you interact with a colleague or team member, client, perhaps your boss.

YOU ARE, YOUR DEMONSTRATED BEHAVIOUR. What you are doing with the other person at that moment in time through your verbal behaviour: what you say, and how you say what you say, the intonation and mood that lies beneath the words, combined with your non- verbal behaviour: your actions, body language, and approach, will determine what the other person is THINKING about you, therefore how they FEEL about you, therefore how they BEHAVE in response to you.

It is never about what you hope you are doing, your aspirational behaviour, it is your DEMONSTRATED behaviour that will determine how other people respond.

So, the BIG question is, and a question we encourage you to ask of your wife, husband, partner, children, colleagues, boss, or clients, and please, please listen, to their response:


(What is it like to be on the receiving end of your presentation and slides, your meeting, your leadership style, conference call, your interactions within meetings, how you answer the phone, your mood when you walk through your front door?)

As humans, we simply FEED OFF WHAT WE ARE FED.

So, what are you feeding others behaviourally? How are they interpreting your behaviour? What is it telling them? Are you feeding them genuine interest, concern, inspiration, compassion, that you care? Or, from their perspective, do they feel they are being fed: indifference, too busy, haven’t got time for you, that you don’t care, and your laptop/iPhone is more important?

The key to success is to ensure your actions match your intentions.  INTENT = ACTION

I believe every one of us has very positive intentions. We intend to be great husbands, wives, parents, colleagues, managers, leaders, deliver powerful presentations, hold inspiring team meetings, be the best boss. But, the stuff of life so often gets in the way and our behaviours do not always match our intentions and they fall away. It’s hard at times. Pressure from the boss, the clients, exhaustion, meeting tight deadlines, and the IT is not working, kids are unwell, trains delayed….and so it goes on.

The key is in your choices. The greatest gift you were bestowed with at birth beyond the gift of life itself is the ability to CHOOSE your thoughts and actions.  You have control over these. This is your gift. Success will come when you CHOOSE your actions and ensure your actions match your intent.

Hit the pause button. Stop. Think. CHOOSE. Make sure your actions and behaviours match your intentions and feed behaviours that achieve the outcomes that you seek.

If you want to find out more about this article, please do contact Mary at MFL.  For a true story around this topic, and a working example, read on:

True story – Thought provokers in action 

A manager from a leading bank, commented during his leadership training programme with me, that a challenge he faced was that his team were “lacklustre”, and it was like pulling teeth to get them to do anything. And he blamed them. He used the language: “They”, are this, “They” are that…  and he pushed the blame for their non- performance on them.

He said the light bulb moment for him during the training programme was, the Four Thought Provokers. It had never occurred to him to think that HE, might in some way be responsible for their behaviour. He had never considered what it might be like to be on the receiving end of him.

He had the humility to suddenly think: “Maybe it’s me, not them?”

So, he decided to find out. As part of his project linked to the programme, he had a video camera installed at work and he had himself videoed, from the moment he went to the office to the moment he left.

And that evening, as he sat and watched the video, he said: “Holy moly, no wonder my team aren’t performing for me.”

And this is what he saw. Arriving into office in the morning, blazing a trail to his desk, throwing the odd: “hello”, “how are you?” “golly it’s chilly this morning”, at no-one, before settling at his desk, and immersing himself in his laptop and phone. Three hours later he came up for air.

What was his demonstrated behaviour telling his team? How were they interpreting it? What was he feeding them? That he didn’t care about them and that his laptop was more important than them.

Did he care? Yes! I personally don’t know many bosses who don’t care about their team, but his demonstrated behaviour sent a VERY different signal. His actions did not match his intent. He was feeding them indifference. And there are not many of us who would perform well for a boss who is indifferent.

So, he opted to take from his personal toolkit that powerful gift he was given at birth, the gift of choice, he chose to change his behaviour.  The next day, instead of heading straight to his desk, he sat down with each team member, one by one, and had a meaningful conversation with each of them. About them. Totally focused on them, and demonstrating listening. Genuine interest. He said it took him 45 minutes to get to his desk that morning, but in his mind, it was the best 45 minutes he has ever spent.

Initially, his team were cynical. “What did he have for breakfast?” “He’s been on a course! This won’t last!”

He was aware of their concerns and admitted he HAD been on a course, and was so glad he had because he had not appreciated how much he had let them down behaviourally. That had not been his intention.

It was important, that this new “him” was not a one-hit wonder, and he was aware of that. And it wasn’t. He made sure at least once a week, he had a meaningful conversation with each of his team. His new demonstrated behaviour was sending very different, and positive signals.  His actions matched his intent.

I certainly know which kind of boss I would go to the moon and back for.

And you?


Written by Mary Tillson, Head of Momentum and Executive Learning