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What is a behavioral indicator?

A behavioral indicator is used in an assessment or development centre to provide an objective description (or indication) of the behavior that you might view from the candidate that provides evidence that they either have or do not have the competency that you are assessing.  Behavioral indicators can therefore be positive or negative.

For example, if you were to assess the competency of “manages conflict well”, having defined the actual competency to ensure it is fully understood by all assessors or observers, you would then need to produce a list of possible positive and negative behavioral indicators for this competency.  In this example, some of the indicators might be:

Positive Behavioral Indicator:
asks other people for their perspective, draws out the feeling of the group, listens to others before evaluating

Negative Behavioral Indicator:
makes decisions without considering the views of others, makes excessive “I” statements rather than working towards satisfying mutual interests

During the assessment or development centre, the assessors or observers will keep a list of which of these indicators arise and when; this will enable objective and easy scoring of the candidates on the competency under assessment.