Behavioural Intelligence is an essential tool for managers, leaders, facilitators and negotiators.  It is, quite literally, the embodiment of Emotional Intelligence.  What you say or do (that’s behaviour) is actually much more important than what you think or feel.  Your brain has the ability, primarily through the pre-frontal cortex, to help you choose what to do next rather than just react out of animal instinct or emotional irrationality.

To help people develop their conscious use of behaviour I use a classification developed from work originally done by Neil Rackham.  Having a name for something allows your brain’s pre-frontal cortex more opportunity to interrupt your gut reactions and help you choose whether to do it or not.  This classification of behaviour gives you that language and increases your ability to notice the behaviours in your own and others interactions in meeting and negotiations.

Previous Behavioural Intelligence articles have defined the behaviours.  In this article the actual words people might use will help to deepen your understanding of what each behaviour looks or sounds like.

Initiating – Getting things moving, or keeping things moving

Making Proposals – “I suggest we look at things in some sort of order”

Seeking Proposals – “What does everyone think we should do?”

Building – “…and if we do what Steve suggest we could also…”

Directing – “Write these on the flipchart or we’ll never remember them”

Clarifying – Increasing your own or others’ understanding

Giving Information – “This is how I see things at the moment”

Seeking Information – “Where are you with this idea Steve?”

Summarising – “So, we’ve agreed we should ask for more detailed instructions”

Testing Understanding – “Are you saying the client will not be interested in this?”

Reacting – Evaluating others’ contributions and responding

Disclosing – “I’m very uncomfortable doing things this way”

Supporting – “I’m with Steve – that’s a great way to move forwards”

Disagreeing – “I can’t go with that idea- it doesn’t seem right”

Attack/Defend – “If that’s the best you can come up with I won’t bother asking again”

Controlling – Managing the flow of information

Bringing In – “Richard – I’d really welcome your thoughts on this”

Shutting Out – “Julia I’m going to interrupt you here and see what others think”

You’ll probably begin your learning by noticing other people’s words and actions.  Behavioural Intelligence develops as you move from becoming aware of others’ behaviours to actively managing your own behaviour by consciously choosing the next thing you say or do.

No behaviour is inherently good or bad – it’s all about the context within which it is used and whether it is appropriate to what you want to achieve.  This is the real secret of emotional intelligence or EQ.  You use your brain (specifically your pre-frontal cortex) to limit or inhibit your reaction just long enough to make a conscious decision.  You’ve got about 0.6 seconds so learning the labels or language to describe different behaviours dramatically increases your ability to do this.  Look for more items and articles on Behavioural Intelligence to discover what the most skilled practitioners do.