Redirecting Negative Behavior

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Redirecting negative behavior is a powerful, honoring alternative that helps you diagnose root causes of poor behavior of all kinds and effect positive change while helping you and the discouraged person. Redirect is an effective way to transform negativity without causing harm to people or relationships.

“A misbehaving person is a discouraged person.” 

~ Dr. Rudulf Dreikurs

Are you challenged by negative behavior? Could it be discouragement despite appearances? What thoughts do you think, words do you say to and about them, and what do you do when others:

  1. Annoy and irritate you? A person cracks a joke at an inopportune time? Taps their pen on the conference room desk? Stands at your door while you’re on the phone, asks unnecessary questions or otherwise annoys and irritates you? This person is in a mistaken goal of Attention.
  2. Anger and provoke you? A person pushes their way, rebelling, resisting and provokes power struggles either with an attitude of “No I won’t; you can’t make me!” or “Yes you will; I can and will make you!” This person is in the mistaken goal of Power.
  3. Shock and hurt you? A person makes you think, “What did I do to deserve that?!” They do or say something that feels like a personal attack. This person is exhibiting Revenge, a mistaken goal in which he or she subconsciously invites rejection from others.
  4. Create worry, concern, and pity in you? A person isthe human version of Eyore? They assume “I can’t” and refuse to try. Their behavior communicates, “Just leave me alone”. They look and act pathetic. They under-perform and are frequently ill, isolated, and calamitous. They are in the goal of Inadequacy.
  5. Shake your confidence? He or she makes you feel, “Who died and made you God?!” Even if you don’t generally gossip, they’re the ones you’re most tempted to tear down (or rip apart!), and privately criticize. They make hackles rise with their smug, condescending tone of voice and body language. They are in the goal of Significance.
 

Most of us in our efforts to improve the situation react and draw upon controlling, harsh, disrespectful and counterproductive responses. Or we ignore and enable. Neither is helpful and both add greater discouragement. When these do work, they only do so short-term to squelch behavior and they carry a high price tag. Despite the epidemic of misbehavior, all of it is a result of people who lack a feeling of being empowered, lovable, connected and contributing. Are you wondering, “What can I do?”

Redirect negative behavior! While I can’t explain the process of Redirect in this article, here are steps you can take in the meantime:

  1. Learn about the counter-productive effects of punishment (often called consequences), bribing (often called rewards, incentives or positive reinforcement) and judgment (often called evaluation)
  2. Stop doing the above. They are all extrinsic ways of trying to motivate change
  3. Focus on how you can be conscious of your own inner dialogue and the thoughts and feelings you are acting out of that are reactive vs. responsive. Cease speaking and acting this way.
  4. Notice language you or others use indicating a lack of centeredness; then get YOU re-centered.
  5. Observe unharmonious behavior in you or others and consider: Is there a lack of feeling empowered, lovable, connected and contributing? Can I change this dynamic? Consciously
    create the environment and relationships to accomplish this and to develop people.
  6. Build systems and a culture to develop intrinsic motivation, social interest and encouragement. When you do this, misbehavior is drastically reduced, becoming a more manageable issue.
  7. Minimum: Do no harm. If you don’t know how to Redirect or stop reacting, but you know that misbehavior is based in discouragement, don’t add further discouragement.
  8. Learn to do Redirect. Find out what it is, why it works and how important it is.
 

As published in the column The Extraordinary Workplace in St. Louis Small Business Monthly, September 2013

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