Rewarding Bad Behavior




My dad was a behavioral psychologist and he taught me that humans adopt behavior that is rewarded.

When young, we crave the attention of our parents, and we will do whatever we have to do to get it, even if the behavior itself brings negative attention.

Any attention, even negative, is better than none at all.

You don’t need to be a trained professional to know our President exhibits most of the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. The leaders of other countries certainly understand it, proven by the way they’ve accommodated him.

But this post isn’t about our President. It’s about members of your staff.

I’ve known quite a few talented people who evidently learned, early in life, that they could get what they wanted by being disagreeable, rude, explosive and unstable.

That behavior worked for them as children and so they still use it to get their way.

What do you do if one of your staff exhibits bad behavior every time s/he’s asked to do something s/he doesn’t want to do, to change something s/he doesn’t want to change, or almost any time they face any sort of critical judgment about their performance?

Sit them down, alone, and explain quietly that you will no longer be rewarding their bad behavior. The bigger the tantrum they throw, the more you will require them to do stuff they don’t want to do.

Then, be consistent. Follow through on your admonition.

And if that doesn’t work, if they don’t begin to change their behavior with co-workers, put them on notice, in writing.

It’s possible you may have to fire them if they refuse to adapt to the new rules. As difficult as that would be, it may be necessary if you don’t want the rest of your staff to see that the behavior that works is mostly bad behavior.

Because very, very few of those on any radio staff today are so talented that you have to handle them with kid gloves.