Experience is the best teacher, so they say. At some point, we are thrown into situations that prompt us to make pivotal life choices and alter specific behaviours for the purpose of becoming a better version of ourselves. However, for some individuals, even the most trying of times are not enough to serve as wake-up calls. Despite their recognition that changes have to be made, for some, the actual act of changing is not entirely easy.

This is what makes difficult behaviour management quite challenging for leaders and managers. After all, the need for change should be felt intrinsically not imposed.


Here are five potential arguments, explored on our leadership and management training courses; why some individuals find it difficult to alter unconstructive behaviours.


1. Unconstructive thought patterns

The first culprit to why people do not positively respond to difficult behaviour management is their unawareness of their own character flaws or shortcomings. Better yet, they feel like their case is not much of a big deal therefore there is no need to assume an earnest stance about the whole affair. This obliviousness is what keeps them from actually facing the problem with objectivity.

Meanwhile, for those who have allowed difficult behaviour management to take effect, but have surrendered along the way without reaching a personal breakthrough, the likeliest cause is a perceived difficulty in the entire process of change. These thought patterns need to be addressed early on in the course of difficult behaviour management.


2. Things are fine just as they are

The status quo is, always, hard to challenge. What is most comfortable, even if dangerous in the end, is what people are normally drawn to. For instance, one who habitually commits petty theft in the office without experiencing a major backlash is prone to consider such action as easy-to-get-away-with.

We might know better, and we are familiar with the myriad of potential repercussions such irresponsibility can cause, but it is more convenient to dismiss the thought as irrelevant when things are going well. In this case difficult behaviour management should address the person’s motivations, values, and principles.


3. Autocratic change

Changing a difficult behaviour is ideally an intrinsic process—it should be prompted by one’s awareness of the need for change and commitment to the process. With this said, it becomes quite challenging for certain individuals when change is merely imposed by an external figure of power and authority. The way to go about this is exhibit leadership skills by actively seeking out ideas and participation of all individuals involved in the difficult behaviour management process.


4. Personally rewarding behaviour

When specific behaviours are hard to alter sometimes it is most likely due to how these behaviours are considered as satisfying by the person, regardless of how others perceive it. There will be at least one human need that is met by this behaviour, hence the difficulty of eliminating it. For leaders and managers facilitating difficult behaviour management faced with this scenario, the best approach is to identify alternative and positive fixes for the aforementioned need.


5. Physiological roadblocks

Not all people are physiologically prepared for change. At least, not all possess the same level of preparedness. Individuals suffering from depression, neurological diseases, chronic pain, and brain injuries may find it more difficult to enact needed change.

Difficult behaviour management and other change-driven efforts should look into these barriers to ensure utmost efficacy. Understanding these is a good enough foundation for the process.



Nicholas Hill
Nicholas Hill

Nicholas C. Hill is Managing Director and Principal Trainer for The Hill Consultancy Ltd, London, specialising in UK-wide public training courses in leadership and management development. Become a highly productive manager and influential leader today. Claim £100 off the list price on any two-day course. Promotional code: PASSION0213. Visit the website or call now to find out more or request a FREE consultation. T: 020 7993 9955 W: www.nicholashill.com





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