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Reinforce positive behavior

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in Leaders & Managers

Q One of my employees tends to change his behavior for the better, only to revert to his old self. He stopped smoking only to start again. He stopped interrupting in meetings (after I spoke with him about it), only to start again. He stopped dressing inappropriately (again, after I told him to improve), only to start looking sloppy again. Any ideas on how to make his improvements stick?

A How you respond to his initial positive changes can influence whether he makes them permanent. Pour on the positive reinforcement. Express genuine admiration for his ability to improve. Also, consider dangling long-term incentives if he continues to improve over time. For example, if he keeps listening better in meetings, promise him that he can become team leader.

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