Behavioral Change

Human Behavioral Change Is Really Difficult and Potentially Priceless When It Happens

Behavioral Change

If you figure it out or if someone tells you that something in your behavior is getting in the way of your progress and you decide that it’s time to address that behavior, there are a few things you should know about behavioral change.

The behavior that is getting in the way of your progress likely didn’t start yesterday.  Therefore, fixing a negative behavior isn’t going to happen as soon as tomorrow. Most human behaviors are deeply ingrained because we’ve been practicing our bad behaviors for a long time.

The idea of changing human behavior is possible and frequently very fruitful but it is also one of the most difficult endeavors a person can take on.  The behavior that is deeply ingrained and practiced will take time to unravel and to improve.

Anyone who is serious about changing behaviors that might be holding back their progress can change their behavior.  There is no magic wand or pixie dust available to facilitate human behavioral change.  A properly trained emotional intelligence coach can assist his / her client in making positive change and the benefits of doing so can be priceless.

What does changing human behavior look like?  Here are just a few examples.

Impulse Control

The smartest person in the room frequently has the impulse to let others know how smart they are.  Learning how to control this impulse and adding a scoop of humility can do wonders for this person’s personal and professional progress. Impulse Control is an Emotional Intelligence skill that can be improved upon.


It has been said that most people listen in order to determine how best to formulate what they’re going to say next.  In other words, they aren’t really listening to actually hear and understand what someone else has to say. They're listening to build their speaking strategy. 

A different listening approach would be to listen with the intention of understanding the person who is speaking.  This change in approach can radically change the results of a conversation.

Winning Too Much

Many people who in leadership roles are highly competitive people who need to win all the time.  The down-side of being wired like this is the tendency for such a person to step in and give his / her team the answers to a problem.  By simply (not so simple for this person) stepping back and allowing one’s team to formulate an answer to a problem, a highly competitive, win at all costs type of leader can dramatically boost his / her team’s willingness to contribute to problem solving in the future.

People who consider how their behavior impacts the audience around them and people who strive to achieve balance in their behavior are the people who will achieve the most desirable results in all facets of life. This is simple to say and very difficult to achieve. 

As difficult as it is to achieve behavioral change, the results of changing negative behavior can be priceless.

Jeff Snyder Coaching


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Impulse Control is one of the Most Important Emotional Intelligence Skills


Impulse Control 

“Impulse control is the ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive or temptation to act and involves avoiding rash behaviors and decision making.”

Impulse Control impacts every other emotional intelligence skill and is frequently a skill that I work on with my behavioral change coaching clients.  This is a skill that can be improved upon and the benefits of improving this particular skill are almost endless.

A Hospital Visit

Since being trained and certified to coach around the topic of emotional intelligence, I can honestly tell you that having this knowledge, working on my own emotional intelligence and coaching others on the topic has changed my life.

Yesterday I had to leave the office early to get to an appointment at the hospital. I was headed there for a significant test.  I arrived at the radiology office early as I was asked to do.  I waited for my turn to be checked in.  When I sat down in front of the person who had the power to check me in, she told me that my test had not yet been approved by the insurance company.

Hold on.  They called me to set up the appointment because the insurance company had approved the test.  I left my office in the middle of the afternoon to get to this appointment that was 50 minutes away from my office.  Now I’m supposed to reschedule?

React or Respond?

At this moment, I had an opportunity to react to the situation and lose control of my patience or I could choose to respond.  I responded with calmness and kindness and didn't let myself react to the situation in anger even though I had a very good reason to be angry.

Having experienced the hospital setting before, I already knew that I'd get a lot further with kindness and smiles than I would be expressing the way I was really feeling.

I took a deep breath and in the most polite and calm way I knew how, I asked the admissions person if there might be a chance that she could call the cardiologist’s office to determine the root cause of this challenge.  She smiled at me with one of the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen in my life and agreed to help me.

She gave me the option of leaving and rescheduling.  Again, in the most calm tone and the most polite manner I could use, I asked what would guarantee that my test would be approved by the insurance company if I were to reschedule and go through the same motions a second time.  She didn’t have a good answer.

The admissions person led me to the scheduling person in the back of the office.  Now I was standing in front of the person who I sensed ran the office.  She got on the phone with my cardiologist’s office and refused on my behalf to take “no” for an answer.  I got this special treatment because I said “please” and “thank you” at least a dozen times in 30 minutes and I treated everyone I encountered in the radiology check-in office with respect.

I Got To Win Twice Yesterday!

For a second time, I returned to the waiting area and kept calm.  Approximately 10 minutes later, the admissions person with the beautiful smile sat down beside me and told me she would be taking me down the hall to get closer to the CT machine.  I was now 50 minutes beyond my scheduled appointment time but I didn’t have to reschedule.

I’m 100% human.  Therefore, I don’t always exercise perfect Impulse Control.  However, yesterday afternoon I nailed it and my reward was a completed hospital test that really needed to be done yesterday.

My bigger reward came 4 hours later when the puck dropped and my Red Hockey Team recorded a hockey win for the evening.  Yesterday was a winning day all around.


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Was That an Earthquake or Was That Our Leader Who Just Left the Room?


You've just left the room.  Your behavior in the room was your normal everyday behavior based on how you are wired, how you see yourself and how you perceive your impact on others.

When they hired you, they told you to show executive presence.  What they meant is that they wanted you to be able to naturally take control of situations and make decisions.  They wanted you to deal with conflict head-on and they wanted you to be direct and persuasive.  They wanted you to build an environment of trust.  They wanted you to operate with humility and they wanted you to show empathy from time to time.

You took the executive presence comment to mean that you needed to demonstrate executive presence all the time regardless of who is in your audience. 

In the room you just left, several people are shaking and one is in tears.  While you were in the room, these people felt like an earthquake was occurring.  Even after you left the room, they still felt the aftershocks from your earthquake-like presence.  These people sure didn’t interpret your presence as their perception of executive presence.

You showed presence alright.  But, did you know that several people in the room had great ideas to share and they really wanted to be heard in today’s meeting?  Did you know that several people in the room invested several hours each into doing research to create their presentations for today’s meeting?  You know, the presentations that were never presented because you consumed all the time in today’s meeting demonstrating your executive presence?

Did you do any listening while you were demonstrating your executive presence?  Maybe if you had listened instead of continually demonstrating your executive presence, you would have known that one of your key team members just learned of their spouse’s diagnosis with a critical illness.

Had you listened and considered what your team had to contribute, you might have learned that one of your team members stayed up all night fixing a problem that would have shut down the business today had they not sacrificed a night of sleep. You could have praised this person in front of the rest of the team.

It’s great that you are wired differently than your staff and for that reason, you have been placed in a leadership role.  However, being a leader gives you more responsibility than most people around you.  People around you want you to be honest.  They want you to be a man/woman of integrity.  They want to have reasons to trust you.

Your team wants you to listen.  They want you to occasionally step into their shoes and consider how they feel.  Your team wants to be acknowledged and to feel appreciated.  Making people feel this way is sometimes more important to your team members than what you pay them.

Treat your team with the utmost respect and give them the support they need to do their jobs and they’ll do great things for you as their leader.  In fact, treat your team with this kind of respect and they might even shock you with their performance.

Do you know how your executive presence is coming across to others?

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