What Functional Behavioral Analysis Tells the Leader He Must Do
If, like Sears in the early 1990s, you’ve come to the realization that behavior drives your business you may also have come to the conclusion that a functional behavior analysis will help you to predict what actions trigger which reactions from your employees. These reactions will be different depending on a number of factors, including:
- Situation or context
- An individual’s personality
- Personalities of co-workers
It is not only possible, but it is highly likely that two people will react differently to the same actions, and the same person may react differently to the same action in different contexts. An example of this might be the person who takes command at a road traffic incident, versus another who goes into shock at the unfolding scene. On another separate occasion, the take-charge individual may become a tearful, inconsolable bystander (it may be that his or her child recently lost their life in a similar accident, for example).
Cognitive theory describes these reactions as emotional responses that cloud logical thinking, and it is this that makes leadership of individuals and teams not only complex but also challenging. In seeking to negotiate these challenges, functional behavioral assessments can help the leader to understand the most likely individual response and provides the tools to prompt empower leaders in what they must do to support the development people.
Using functional behavior analysis is to positively reinforce
Inexperienced or uneducated managers use functional behavior analysis to identify individual weaknesses, whereas the best use is to develop and create strengths. Doing so:
- Supports self-awareness and individual development
- Introduces a model that enhances the individual’s ability to work effectively on a team
- Support a stronger working relationship with direct supervisor and sets up a culture of feedback
- Brings long-term benefit to the organization
There are several ways to take a positive approach to supporting employees. Many of these a manager may already be using – such as showing empathy, treating people as they would want to be treated themselves, and trying to uncover the cause of ineffective behavior. Other approaches include creating positive behavioral support and coaching of required skills through a formal employee development plan.
Creating positive behavior supports
Positive behavior support requires the manager’s understanding of the individual and what will work from the employee’s point of view. These support strategies are formed firstly by understanding their own functional behavioral analysis before supporting the employee in a number of ways, including helping the employee to:
- Communicate his or her choices effectively
- Change behavior when that behavior has a detrimental impact
- Avoid situations that cause negative responses
- Control activities and environment
- Learn coping mechanisms
The manager might also create opportunities for work that the employee values as well as creating an environment that minimizes stressors.
Employee centric development planning
Everyone has goals, and the manager must help employees to understand their goals and the skill shortages that will obstruct goal achievement. By understanding what the employee wants and what he or she already knows and is able to do, the manager will be able to create a support and coaching plan (with the agreement of the employee) that moves the individual toward their goals.
Good leaders understand that people need support
Functional behavioral analysis will empower leaders to understand their employees’ strengths and abilities, as well as their ambitions and those current weaknesses that will inhibit the achievement of those ambitions. Real leaders then use support strategies to help employees understand their own strengths and weaknesses, control their auto-responses, and move more quickly toward their goals.
Contact Forward Focus today to discuss the strategic approaches that will enable your leaders to get the best from every employee in every situation.
A functional behavioral analysis can highlight weaknesses, but the enlightened leader will use it to support and develop employees.