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Chapter 25. Redefining People Problems > Identify the Real Problem

Identify the Real Problem

One of the greatest challenges with behavior problems is identifying the behavior rather than judging the person or assuming you know the reasons for the behavior. For each situation, write a label someone might use to describe the person and then describe the observable behavior more factually.

1: Sally remarks to Perry, “Where do you buy your clothes? I haven’t seen an outfit like that since the circus was in town!”

What label might describe Sally? _____________________________

What is her actual behavior?_________________________________

___________________________________________________________

A: Sally could be described as a snob or hateful or tacky. Her actual behavior is making a disparaging remark about Perry’s clothing.
2: For the fourth time this month, Jeremy’s expense report is incomplete and contains several computational errors.

What label could describe Jeremy?____________________________

What is his actual behavior? _________________________________

___________________________________________________________

A: Jeremy could be described as sloppy, careless, or lazy. His actual behavior is submitting reports with omissions and computational errors.
3: Will has just swatted Ann on her buttocks with a rolled-up magazine and said, “I sure like the way that skirt fits!”

What label might be used to describe Will? ____________________

What is his actual behavior? _________________________________

___________________________________________________________

A: Will could be described as a flirt, a male chauvinist pig, or as obnoxious, fresh, or gross.

His actual behavior is swatting Ann’s buttocks and making a sexually suggestive remark. Describing it as sexual harassment would be accurate, but not as helpful in a confrontational discussion as the more factual description.

4: Monica is shouting angrily at three of her employees, “Why can’t you morons learn how to do this right? If you don’t get your production figures up with the other team’s, you’re going to get yourselves fired!”

What label might describe Monica?___________________________

What is her actual behavior?_________________________________

__________________________________________________________

A: Monica could be described as dictatorial, bossy, or insensitive toward others.

Her actual behavior is shouting at employees and threatening them.




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