Creating Positive Enviroments: Effective Behavior Management Strategies

August 17, 2012
Younger hand holding an older person hand

Professional training is vital to helping staff organize their thinking about problematic behaviors, and to developing proactive skills that focus on prevention and respect.

The behavior management strategies presented in our Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® program center on preventing behaviors from occurring and on equipping staff with skills to empower individuals to manage their own behavior. Staff learn how to address disruptive behavior safely and effectively, increasing the likelihood that individuals will choose more positive behaviors.

Behavior Management Techniques

Here are six safe and effective behavior management strategies for remaining calm and professional during challenging situations.

    1. Be Mindful of Your Own Reaction.
      A vital component of managing difficult behavior is knowing that your behavior affects the behavior of others. What you say or do in response to an individual’s behavior affects whether the behavior escalates or stops. When you’re aware of this factor, and when you’re equipped and empowered with other effective and respectful behavior management strategies, you’re better able to de-escalate difficult behavior and help individuals regain control and make positive choices.

    2. Maintain Rational Detachment.
      When you’re rationally detached, you maintain control by not taking negative comments or actions personally. Without this key ability, team members may react instinctively or defensively, which will only escalate a situation. Equipped with this skill, you’re better able to defuse challenging behavior and encourage positive behavior.

    3. Be Attentive.
      When people feel ignored, marginalized, or not cared for, they often act out. An effective way to counter a person’s anxiety is to validate her feelings. Pay attention to what she says. Give her plenty of personal space. Show her through your facial expressions and body language that you’re listening, and you can take away her reasons for being upset—and give her a reason to regain control.

    4. Use Positive Self-Talk.
      Remind yourself that when you’re the target of an outburst or a negative situation, you’re rarely the cause of the behavior. And just as thinking, "I can't deal with this" might cause you to react one way, telling yourself, "I know what to do" will cause a more productive response.

    5. Recognize Your Limits.
      Being a professional doesn't mean that you can handle everything. Knowing that you have support and backup is crucial to staying in control of your own behavior and responding appropriately. Accept your limits and keep in mind that sometimes the best decision is to let someone else take over.

    6. Debrief.
      Be sure to debrief after any incident. Talking about it can help relieve the stress. It’s also important to consider what was done well and how to respond better the next time a situation occurs.

Equipped with proper training and behavior management techniques that focus on Care, Welfare, Safety, and SecuritySM for each person involved in a crisis, you and your staff can manage difficult behavior with confidence and competence.

4 Tips for De-Escalating Behaviours

Download this free guide and learn ways to keep yourself calm and respond correctly if you encounter a person in crisis.


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