Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
The most important key to managing PA behavior is understanding that PA behavior is reinforced and continues because it is rewarding. There is always some sort of reward to PA behavior.
By knowing the reward, you can tailor your response to prevent the PA person from obtaining the reward. When a person is no longer rewarded for behavior, you are more likely to see a decrease in that behavior.
Withholding reward is a general principle in changing any behavior. For instance, if you give a child a piece of candy every time they throw a tantrum, the child learns that a tantrum is rewarded. By removing the reward you can reduce the frequency of the tantrums.
It may be difficult to determine the reward for PA behavior as you may wonder, "What makes such mean-spirited behavior rewarding?" The answer can vary with the many kinds of PA behavior. Most commonly, however, the PA person gets their way or they can feel powerful by controlling others.
In the situation with the co-worker not doing the job right, the reward to escalating conflict and your frustration is to not have to do the job at all.
Some questions to ask yourself to help determine the reward:
Once you determine the reward, then you are able to develop a response that is based upon not allowing the PA person to get the reward. When you consider your response, you need to think about whether it contributes to obtaining the reward or whether it prevents the reward to the PA person.
Kindle Books by
Dr. Monica Frank