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Book review: Challenging Behaviour

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Title: Challenging Behaviour
Producer: Skill Boosters
Price: £995 plus VAT
Format: DVD and VHS with 26 page Trainer’s Notes booklet
Length: Total running time: 25 minutes
Reviewer: Richard L. Berry

How do you deal with a colleague who will not leave you alone? How do you feel when your group excludes you because you are different in some way? What is your responsibility if you observe someone being bullied? Are you a bully yourself, but just don’t know it? Where does a harmless joke end, and real offence start?

This multimedia training material addresses the subject of bullying and harassment in the workplace. It takes the form of dramatised scenes, carefully selected to represent real situations. We are complex personalities and we all react differently to other people’s actions and words. One person may interpret something as simply ‘having a laugh’ and may mean no harm, but another person may find it deeply offensive. Harassment can be unintentional but what is important is the effect that it has on the victim, not what was intended by the perpetrator.

The topics covered in this video include a definition of ‘inappropriate behaviour’; the effects of harassment on individuals and the organisation; examples of the proper response to inappropriate behaviour; and harassment from the viewpoint of the ‘Actor’, the ‘Receiver’ and the ‘Observer’. One of the scenes gives practical guidance to those who feel themselves to be at the receiving end of harassment.

Inevitably, to some questions raised by this video there are no ‘right’ answers. It depends, as with many situations involving human relationships, on the exact circumstances. Harassment can, however, take many forms, and there is a point at which harassment can become discrimination. Discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion and age (by October 2006) is covered by legislation.

Challenging Behaviour is part of a series of interactive learning materials produced by Skill Boosters covering a range of management topics: diversity, leadership, call centre management and personal competency. The price of the product covers the one time purchase of the materials and the right to use it as often as the company wants, for as long as it wants and with as many people as the company wants.

This product should be used in the context of a small group discussion with a trainer. One scene from the video may be shown and a discussion initiated using the discussion points suggested in the booklet. The trainer can round up the session using the key learning points from the booklet.

There are eight scenes at the end where the actors express their frustration with different incidents at work. These would be useful for group discussion. The booklet contains detailed feedback commentaries outlining expert opinion and possible legal implications. These are so thought provoking that I was a little disappointed that there were only eight of them.

I found this video to be very clear and focused in its message. It is professionally produced and the actors dramatised the scenes very well. Important issues are covered, and I believe that any organisation would find it a valuable resource. If used in the context of small group discussion it would help bullies to identify their own actions as inappropriate (not all bullies are ‘bad’ people) in a non confrontational way. It would embolden victims to assert their right to be treated with dignity. And it would remind all of us that, as observers, we are all responsible for the human aspects of workplace harassment.

This is for all levels of staff who work in companies of any size. Since it deals with inter-personal work relationships, it does not cover customer relationships, or client-consultant relationships.

Review ratings (1 being poor, 5 excellent):

  • Overall 5

  • Helpfulness 5

  • Value for money 3 – The price is quite high, but it should be put into proper context. For a large company training a large group of people over a long period of time, it is definitely VFM.

  • Would you recommend it? Yes


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