Using Harrison Assessements to identify causes of bad behaviour

I have had some conversations this week around good vs bad behaviour in the workplace. Outside of commonly agreed bad behaviour or illegal/unethical behaviour, determining “bad behaviour” is quite subjective – determined by formal and informal workplace culture. When a manager asks me to work with a staff member to make sure that they “behave well” in the workplace, I know that we are all in for a challenge!

At the deepest level, “behaving well” is intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsically motivated. External motivation is based on what you do rather than who you are. For example, people highly motivated by recognition, strong or capable leadership and management, stability in their career, are externally motivated. People that are more internally motivated are happy with themselves, warm to others, not afraid to voice opinions, quick to listen to the ideas of others, flexible about the environment that they work in. Recognition and career stability are outcomes, rather than goals. They are about BEing more than the DOing. For them, the DOing arises out of BEing.

Of course, most people are both intrinsically and extrinsically motivated. We both DO and BE. We like recognition, status, a manager that we can like as a person and follow as a leader. We are generally happy, giving, communicative folks.

Mismatched Fit and Expectations

When bad behaviour erupts, the cause can be one or more of the following:

  • the person’s unmet expectations of the workplace and management,
  • a management style that is incompatible with the person’s needs (sometimes indeed a generally poor management style),
  • a poor fit with the requirements of the job,
  • aspects of the culture that do not support effective and efficient work.

Such a mix can crush the performance confidence of even the most talented people!


Yes, we are all in for a challenging time when an organisation decides to tackle bad behaviour! But I laud the bravery of those that accept the challenge. Managers and staff grow together in awareness of self, of their impact on others, and on the cultural and environmental impacts on performance. The outcomes are wonderful, productive and profitable, and morale increases. The person grows, the manager grows, the organisation changes, and everybody learns from the process. Approached properly, the results are sustainable.

Covey says:

So often the problem is in the system, not in the person. If you put good people in bad systems, you get bad results. You have to water the flowers you want to grow.

Getting to the Cause with Harrison Assessments

The Harrison Assessments psychometric system is based on behavioural preferences and ideal for understanding personal motivations. Together with coaching, it can help individuals develop self awareness, and managers identify the best ways to manage their staff.

Enjoy your week!


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