When I am delivering management training I will be often asked about dealing with challenging and difficult behaviour.  This is a very common thing in the workplace, particularly with different types of personalities and people and the simple fact is that we can’t like or get on with everyone, I think this is perfectly normal.

However, as a manager, an issue can be when we don’t like someone we start to create a habit of looking for things when they have done something wrong.  Of course, if we don’t necessarily warm to someone, we may start to look for this, and as soon as they make a mistake w,e will be the first to tell them. If we are honest, I think we have all done this as some time, yes this includes you!

A great technique to use here is to start to change our way of thinking.  Change our way of thinking to begin to look when someone has done something right.  This is a simple but powerful way of changing our thoughts on their behaviour; looking for things they are doing well or favourable areas of their behaviour.

With this information there is something important we must do; we must tell the individual that they have done something well.  This is essential in this process for some key reasons:

We are letting someone know their positive behaviour– sometimes individuals have never been told when they are doing something right.  It can make them want to feel this feeling again; therefore, we could change their behaviour.

It will change the way we feel about them– when we start to look for the best in people, it turns the way we think about them.  It will promote positive thoughts and feelings about that individual.  Do it again and again, and a positive habit is formed.

We are saying thank you– regardless of your thoughts saying thank you is incredibly powerful. You may not think so personally but remember this isn’t about you!

In all animal and human behavioural experiments looking for and stating the positive things works 100% of the time.  Look at social media these days, one thing humans love is positive things being said whether it’s a like on Facebook or a retweet on Twitter.  We love it and therefore emulating this in the workplace will provide nothing but benefits.

Ralph Moody is the founder of Target Training and specialises in trainer and management development.  You can read more about him here.  To see courses where Ralph delivers see our website here.