Behavioral Scale Deep Dive: Low Self-Control

Self Control: The need to manage one’s own impulses. 

Do you tend to bend the rules and love to stretch limits? Are you easily bored? If so, you may be a low scorer in self-control. Let’s take a look at the behavioral traits of someone with a low score in self-control and what managers can do to best encourage their growth. 

Low Self-Control

Meet Jenny. Jenny is always in action and is always the first one to try new things. She often drops everything if an exciting opportunity arises and isn’t afraid to take risks. When she recently became bored with her steady job she decided to spend all the money she’d been saving to move to Hawaii because it seemed more exciting. She’s always the animated life of the party when she goes out with her friends and is always egging everyone on to take shots. She doesn’t think twice about having too many and often doesn’t slow down.

Jenny is a good example of someone who likely has a low self-control score. She:

  • Prefers instant gratification
  • Enjoys fun, excitement, risk, adventure and quick rewards for their efforts
  • Is easily bored
  • Tends to bend the rules, stretch limits and thrives in chaos
  • Is often charismatic and animated, but is also impulsive and at times careless. 

Tips for Managing Low Scorers

Although low scorers in self-control are charismatic and exciting to be around, sometimes their tendency to stretch limits and take unnecessary risks can have negative consequences in their personal and work life. Low Self- Control may manifest in many areas: finances, eating habits, alcohol and drug use, controlling one’s tongue, interrupting people, etc. The above issues may cause conflict with others and damage one’s reputation. Thus, developing Self-Control is about managing impulses. 

Whether you’re a manager of a low self-control scorer or wanting to learn how to better understand a colleague’s behavior, here are some ideas on how to effectively manage this behavioral trait. 

  • Help them identify the areas in which they may lack Self- Control in their life.
  • Encourage them to practice self-discipline, commitment and consistent
     follow through as attributes that are the building blocks of success and credibility, although they are not often very fun or particularly exciting. Reward them in a fun way for these behaviors.
  • Encourage them to adopt some sort of relaxation or mindfulness practice.
    • At first, this may seem awful to a low scorer in self-control. However, by learning to relax or meditate low scorers can begin to curb their gut impulses. Meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness are all excellent ways to practice relaxation.
  • The low scorer in Self- Control is motivated by staying excited about what they are doing. Encourage them to set goals that they’re excited about achieving and reward them at milestones along the way to keep them engaged.
  • Help them Learn To Plan.
    • Self-control is hard to achieve without direction. For example, if you want to lose 5 pounds, which means skipping your nightly trip to the cookie jar, it helps a low-scorer in self-control to plan ahead. Encourage them to think of ways to curb their appetite in advance. To avoid relying on willpower, encourage them to make a plan for what they will do the next time their self-control is tested. Perhaps they can plan on going on a 15 minute jog or watch a tv show when they have a craving for sugar. Using distractions like this can help improve self-control in the long run.

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