6 Strategies Smart People Use for Behavior Management

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Heather K Adams734
Content + Copy Writer
July 14, 2024 at 2:48PM UTC
Teachers utilize behavior management strategies to instill good behavior in their students. But these skills don't just apply to the classroom. Anyone in a group leadership position will benefit from sharpening their behavior management strategies. How can you improve yours? Do some research (starting here!), apply what you learn and see what does or doesn't work for you. Behavior management skills are all about learning, application and growth. Take the time to learn, try and grow your own strategies and leadership style, and you'll find yourself running a neater, tighter ship in no time.

What is behavior management in the classroom?

What behavior management boils down to is discouraging inappropriate behavior and encouraging the good. The end goal is students who have internalized (and are invested in) the right and wrong ways to act and behave accordingly. This is essentially teaching good citizenship. Often people think of school as where you go to learn reading, writing and arithmetic, but it plays a deeper role than even that. Schools teach us how to socialize and how to follow the rules in large group settings. 
One example of a behavior management strategy in the classroom is keeping a behavior chart with students' names ranked based on how well they have or haven't followed the rules for a given time period. This public display can help motivate students to actively do better.

6 effective behavior management strategies.

Handling bad behavior in the classroom is a given for teachers, regardless of what level they teach. The below strategies are essential to the effective management of any classroom.

1. Remain calm.

It's hard not to take it personally when someone doesn't follow our rules. But the first step to managing someone else's behavior is first to manage your own. Take a deep breath and remember this isn't, really, about you. And that yelling at someone isn't very effective.

2. Model the behavior you want to see.

Staying calm serves a purpose beyond just keeping you sane. Your own behavior and attitude teach your students how to really behave. If you break a few rules here and there, like losing your temper and not apologizing for it, you're teaching them that they can do that, too.

3. Establish a quasi-democracy

Involving the entire classroom in creating some of your rules or determining punishments and rewards gets kids invested in the overall behavioral health of their classroom. Introduce a need, such as "we need a rule about how to behave in line," and then lead a discussion.

4. Follow the rules, consistently.

Lay out what is and isn't okay, and then stick to that. Enforcing a rule one day but not the next paves a quick short road to confusion. Just as your behavior needs to be clear and consistent, so too does your adherence to the rules.

5. Dole out rewards and punishments.

Effective behavior management involves instilling an understanding of actions equaling set consequences. Misbehavior in the morning is not offset by good behavior in the afternoon, at least not in terms of punishment. If someone earned having a few minutes taken away from recess time, then that's what needs to happen. Same, too, with rewards.

6. Isolate truly disruptive behaviors.

Some kids struggle with tantrums or other outbursts. These can escalate quickly, and often the only way to diffuse the situation is to move the child to a different area. Create a quiet space, like a time out area, and use it as a zone for kids to chill out.

Can you apply behavior management strategies in the workplace?

When it comes to workplace management, dealing with adults isn't all that different from dealing with kids. Obviously, you expect far fewer pants-wetting incidences, but when it comes to behavior management, the same rules (and many of the same strategies) still apply. 
Staying calm when dealing with inappropriate behavior allows you to assess its underlying factors, rather than focusing on feeling attacked. And, like with kids, a semi-democratic approach fosters a sense of belonging among employees and a willingness to enforce the rules they helped create. Effective behavior management often relies on active participation in the clear organizing principles inside a firmly established framework. The biggest overarching strategy is consistency. Setting the rules, their punishments and rewards and then sticking to them creates a solid structure within which your employees can work.  

Who needs behavior management strategies?

Effective behavior management strategies are a must-have for anyone in a leadership position. From the classroom to the restaurant kitchen to the executive conference room, knowing how to establish and enforce the rules creates a structure inside which everyone knows what is and isn't appropriate behavior. Modeling the behavior you want to see, encouraging your students or employees to take part in creating this structure, to a degree, and remaining calm in the face of disruptive outbursts are all essential behavior management strategies that will make sure you run a better behaved and no doubt more productive group, no matter what the setting.

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