“It always seems impossible until it’s been done.” 

Nelson Mandela

“An insight the size of a mustard seed is powerful enough to bring down a mountain-sized illusion that may be holding our lives together. Truth strikes without mercy. We fear our intuitions because we fear the transformational power within our revelations.”

Caroline Myss, Author, Mystic


Today’s episode is called If Not Punishment, Then What? Redirecting Negative Behavior. In it, I will be talking with you about negative behavior, what causes it, how we typically react to it and more productive ways we could respond in the face of it. And while negative behavior includes conflict, it includes much more than conflict too. This is a rich topic and today will be something of an overview with several additional episodes on this topic in the near future.

Questions to Ponder:

  1. Why do people misbehave?
  2. What makes it difficult to recognize certain types of misbehavior?
  3. What have we been taught are appropriate reactions to misbehavior?
  4. What are some better ways to respond instead?
  5. In other words what is Redirecting Negative Behavior?

Episode Guest: Christen Schweizer

Christen Schweizer has been the Manager of Application Development at Esse Health for almost 7 years. She provides expertise on the evaluation and design of information systems, is responsible for ongoing testing of software and change management, leads the Application Development team and helps them upgrade processes with proven results. She partners with teams for cross functional support and to improve processes. She supervises and resolves all open issues with software vendors. She manages teams that create systems for multiple industry projects and oversees customer service. She is a key player in the integration of the workplace culture model from LifeWork Systems, which supports her skills to increase trust, camaraderie, and consensus for greater efficiency and success.

Christen is also the mother of 4 children. I met Christen about 4 years ago when I brought my culture transformation process to Esse Health, one of the largest physician-owned healthcare organizations with over 1000 employees. When we first met, she told me she had already been studying an Adlerian psychology approach to improve her parenting skills at home. She was happy to have this reinforced at work. Christen not only has embraced the LifeWork Systems culture transformation process, she has since become a subject matter expert on the process and helps to onboard new employees. Christen is uniquely qualified to speak on many topics but none more than Redirecting Negative Behavior. Not only does Christen learn from LifeWork Systems, we learn from Christen as she is an avid seeker and learner who refers me to books and articles and video clips that align with our work. In fact, she recently sent me a clip of the Lego movie that reflects a great example of redirecting negative behavior. I’m honored and excited to welcome her to our show – Welcome Christen Schweizer. I’m so happy to have you on my podcast!

Keywords: redirecting negative behavior, Adlerian psychology, 

Episode Topics:

  • Assertions About Negative Behavior
  • Definition of Redirecting Negative Behavior
  • Disengagement Statistics
  • Personal Responsibility
  • Adler’s 5 Major Precepts

Assertions About Negative Behavior

  1. Negative behavior is epidemic – it’s everywhere
  2. Two ineffective philosophies – permissive and punitive
  3. Four ineffective models – control
  4. All behaviors reflect unconscious beliefs and intentions – it’s purposeful (5 goals)
  5. All behaving people are discouraged. (most does not look discouraged)
  6. Our response has a profound and significant impact – train story

Definition of Redirecting Negative Behavior

Redirect is a:

  • Technique to stop a cycle of limited thinking/behaving based in discouragement and fear
  • Method for diagnosing and treating the true causes of negative behavior
  • Respectful, honoring alternative to traditional punishment, bribing and rewarding Redirect steps include:
    • 1. Pause, take a breath and look for clues (what you feel, think and want to do)
    • 2. Identify 1 of 5 patterns of misbehavior (called mistaken goals from fear or limitation) depending upon the clues you recognize in yourself.

Note: You focus on one specific incident of misbehavior at a time because the same behavior could be any of the 5 mistaken goals 3. Respond (often counter-intuitive) vs. react to work against a discouraged person’s limiting beliefs.

Disengagement Statistics

71% of people are disengaged, with 16% of them actively disengaged and doing significant misbehaving that costs companies $16,000 per person per year. 55% of them are doing C- work and not gaining anything for organizations.

Personal Responsibility

Personal responsibility is connected to negative behavior because when a person forgets they have choice, they either adopt an attitude of resentful compliance and act like a victim, or they adopt an attitude of rebellion and resistance and make decisions from a mean-spirited manner. When they are in other-directed mindset, they are in misbehavior. Only when people remember they have autonomy can they own responsibility for their tasks, their relationships and their outcomes and they act in aligned and accountable ways.

Adler’s 5 Major Precepts

The work we do is based on the psychology of Alfred Adler. He holds these 5 concepts I will be referring to:

  1. We are social – we’re hard-wired to seek healthy belonging and significance that lead us to the four core feelings we need to experience – to feel empowered, lovable, connected and contributing (remind them of the gang example). Without these, we fall into the inferiority complex and feel shame instead and this underlies every type of struggle; internal and external. This is under every negative behavior.
  2. We are subjective – we are always choosing how we interpret our circumstances, and while influenced by conditioning from others, ultimately, we draw our own unique conclusions of what we see. That’s why this psychology is called Individual psychology and our subjectivity is our private logic.
  3. We are purposeful – In everything we do, we have goals (often unconscious) that we seek to “make happen”. Even when our goals are from limiting beliefs and fear, we are always seeking to cause things. These are unconscious because we have been taught to be afraid of ourselves, including our power and initiative.
  4. We are self-determining – Because we have private logic, we play a much larger role in creating our experience and bending life to what we believe is true. If we look at each person and what they have created, it is self-created to a large extent.
  5. We are holistic – Importantly, we are all trying to find our way to that sense of belonging and significance because we are social. This makes our pathway worthy even if our methods take us totally off track! When we know this, we can even understand that for some people, they will do horrendous things all while seeking this and what they believe are viable options for getting back to these. (Two great movies I have watched recently – Happy and I AM)

Resources: There are many resources related to this topic, including:

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