Factors to Assess: Behaviors

Document the behaviors you witness using the categories of counterproductive leadership you learned in the Identify topic (and that are also provided in the job aid below). By consistently documenting behaviors over time, you can identify patterns. For instance, you can distinguish between a leader who regularly uses counterproductive leadership from one who is having a bad day or using a “hard-charging” approach that’s appropriate to the situation. Select the buttons below to explore specific items to document.


Use the categories of counterproductive leadership to help you record the behaviors you witness in a consistent and commonly understood manner. What specific behaviors are you:

  • Witnessing directly?
  • Hearing about from others?
  • Seeing in command climate survey results (if applicable)?


Take note of how many times you’ve seen or heard of the behavior(s) taking place along with times and dates. This will help you differentiate between a one-time behavior and a recurring pattern of behavior. However, keep this information confidential. The purpose of the assessment is to give you concrete information that will help you address the situation productively. Your goal is to help the leader improve, not to gossip or be disloyal.

Note that some behaviors are so extreme that they only need to occur once to warrant further action.


Certain behaviors are severe enough to require immediate action. These may include:

  • Physical threats or abuse.
  • Sexual harassment.
  • Illegal activities.

You’ll learn more about behaviors that fall into this category as well as what to do about them in the Address topic.


Triggers refer to behaviors or situations that typically precede or spark the demonstration of a counterproductive leadership behavior. They’re unique and specific to each individual leader. To identify triggers, leverage the information you gathered about the Situation and Actors and document when the behaviors occur and under what conditions.

  • First, consider whether there are certain aspects of the situation that appear to trigger counterproductive leadership behavior.
  • Next, consider whether there are certain characteristics unique to the leader and recipient that appear to trigger the counterproductive leadership behavior.

Knowing a leader’s triggers will help you determine when and how to address the behavior, helping to reduce unfavorable outcomes and arrive at a more effective solution.