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Tip of the Week: Implementing the NABITA Standards for BITs (Part XVII)

NABITA membership has more than doubled over the last year. To help new members implement the NABITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs), and to provide continuing members with a refresher, NABITA is launching a Tip of the Week series specifically focused on the BIT Standards. Twenty standards, twenty Tips of the Week (maybe more) aimed specifically at the practical application of the BIT Standards (Note: the twenty Tips may not be published consecutively so that NABITA can bring you timely updates regarding other topics).

Standard 18. Supervision: The BIT chair regularly meets with members individually to assess their functional capacity and workload and to offer guidance and additional resources to improve team membership performance.

As cited in Standard 4, BITs have an identified leader, a chairperson, to “bring the team together and keep discussions productive and focused while maintaining a long-term view of team development and education.”[1] A critical piece of that long-term development is supervising BIT members in their BIT roles. Some teams may have formalized supervision processes, while others may be developing those procedures. NABITA recommends that chairs regularly meet one-on-one with the BIT members to provide guidance and support.

Practical tip – BIT chairs should develop a schedule for when they will engage in direct supervision with the other BIT members. As chairs are developing that schedule, they should ask themselves the following:

  • How often can the chair meet with each member?
  • Where should the chair meet with their members?
  • What should the chair cover during these meetings?
  • Who will plan the meeting agenda?

NABITA recommends that chairs meet with individual members, ideally face-to-face, at least once per term. While the meeting location can be flexible, it is necessary for chairs to balance a desire to vary the meeting location while respecting privacy – the privacy of both the BIT member and the individual cases that may be discussed. The content of these meetings will vary depending on the needs of the team and the member with whom the chair is meeting. The goal of these supervision meetings should be “to assess how [the member] is functioning on the team and look for opportunities to share and receive feedback on ways to ensure their” effectiveness as a team member.[2]

Whether the chair and BIT member discuss the use of the assessment tools, like the NABITA Risk Rubric, or address stressors and potential burnout, the chair’s goal should be to assist the member in identifying personal and professional goals and objectives to improve functioning and contributions to team operations. Chairs should provide feedback that is respectful, concrete, specific, and useful. Simply saying, “Good job” or “B+ effort” is not effective feedback. Chairs should focus on how well the BIT member is fulfilling their role on the team. Are there skill sets or knowledge related to the member’s role that would benefit the team? If so, the BIT chair can help the member advocate within their reporting structure to attend training or a conference on that topic or determine if there are BIT funds that can be used. The chair should also share whether there are specific things  the BIT member should do more or less of moving forward. These meetings are also a prime opportunity for the chair to solicit feedback about team functioning from the member perspective, especially if there has been recent team transition with membership, software, or procedures. It is essential for the chair to have an overall understanding of the team’s functioning in order to be an effective and responsive leader.

Tim Cason, M.Ed., Consultant, TNG

[1] NaBITA. (2018). NaBITA Standards for Behavioral Intervention Teams [White paper]. Access here.

[2] Id.