A challenging behavior is any behavior that causes significant distress or danger to the person of concern or others. It can include an outburst of aggression or a resistant type of behavior.
In most workplaces and for most employers, challenging behavior can generally be understood as something that either interferes with the safety or serenity of the workers.
Examples of challenging behavior include:
- Withdrawn behavior
- Disruptive behavior
- Violent or unsafe behavior
- Inappropriate social behavior
Challenging behaviors are difficult for everyone involved especially in a workplace environment, as any situation or feeling can act as a trigger for challenging behavior. So, it is important to notice and manage it ahead of time. One way to achieve this is through behavioral therapy, which focuses on reinforcing desirable behavior and discarding challenging or disruptive ones. In essence, behavioral therapy can change how workers behave and think.
Moving forward, we will discuss the effectiveness of behavioral therapy in the workplace amongst other techniques suitable for managing challenging behavior in the workplace.
10 Behavior Management Techniques for Challenging Behavior in the Workplace
1. Communication is Key
Avoid harsh aggressive or abrupt statements when addressing your workers. Don’t say things like “You must…”, “Don’t…”, “Stop…”. Use alternatives and “I’ language like “I would like you to…” “It would help me if…”, “I feel you should…”. Replace negatives with positives when you’re frustrated. It’s easy to snap and say something negative. This creates unhealthy relationships with your workers.
The key to positive behavior management in the workplace is to turn negative phrases into positive ones.
2. Only Rebuke When Necessary
Rebuking workers can lead to even more challenging behavior. It’s a cycle that’s hard to break.
Sometimes it is necessary, but you should keep this to a minimum. Only do this in exceptional cases, not as the norm.
There’s no need to be too lenient but don’t be too hard either. Find a balance.
3. Speak to Defaulting Workers in Private
Rebuking a worker in the presence of his peers can make him feel humiliated or ashamed. This can be a trigger that makes them disengage from the workplace or cause emotional distress that can lead to challenging behavior.
To avoid this, speak to them in private. You can set up a calm corner just for this purpose.
4. Administer Behavioral Therapy
Most times, workers who display challenging behavior just need someone who can listen to them and a calm space to reflect.
In this capacity, one great answer to the question of how to handle challenging behaviors in the workplace is Behavioral Therapy. According to BetterHelp.com, behavioral therapy is a psychotherapeutic treatment that assists workers in understanding the feelings and thoughts that affect behaviors. These therapies can be used to pinpoint the triggers to a wide variety of challenging behaviors such as violent tendency, addiction, anxiety, and depression.
For this purpose, it is advantageous to set up a calm space for anyone that feels overwhelmed or stressed in the workplace, and also hire a behavioral therapist to administer help to the workers.
5. Teach Your Workers About Positive Behavior
It’s hard for your workers to understand how to act when they don’t know what good behavior looks like.
Teach them about what they should and shouldn’t do to make sure that everyone in the workplace is happy and can get on with their work.
6. Model Positive Behavior in the Workplace
When considering how to handle and improve challenging behaviors in the workplace, it is not enough to simply teach your workers about positive behavior. Like many things in life, you have to take the first step and show them how it’s done!
For instance, if you don’t want inappropriate behaviors in the workplace, don’t encourage them. Endeavor to keep things professional.
7. Establish Ground Rules
It’s still important to establish ground rules, but make sure to do it the right way.
Don’t threaten punishment if they fall out of line. Rather, show them the benefits of these rules and why they’re so important.
8. Encourage Free Thinking
When free thinking is encouraged in a workplace, it minimizes mental constraints, boredom, social isolation, and irritating factors in the environment such as noise, and uncomfortable attitudes.
9. Communicate Openly with Your Workers
This fosters goodwill and enhances the self-esteem of the workplace in general.
It also enhances decision-making and participation in various activities in the workplace.
10. Reward Positive Behavior
Make sure to reward workers when they perform well. Rewards could be in form of bonuses, or an all-expense-paid trip.
It’s important to reward workers for positive behavior – no matter how big or small it may be.
The tendency of challenging behaviours happening in the workplace makes it that employers and workers alike have a huge responsibility to do the necessary things to prevent or minimize any harm that may occur.