Article review: A Leader’s Guide to Why People Behave the Way They Do
This article offers a lot of crucial implications and insights, particularly for leaders, about perception of other people’s behavior, and provides a number of mechanisms that help to understand, interpret and effectively govern motivation of others in order to achieve desirable outcomes. Additionally, these guidelines allow us to observe our own behavior, recognize what drives it, and suggests what actions we can perform in order to alter it when needed.
The major point of the article revolves around the difference between good and bad leadership, and aspects that a good leader should consider to ensure that he can effectively influence motivation of his people. Throughout the history, the majority of leaders were Level One leaders, and they solely focused on the human behavior (Clawson, 2001). They only considered the tip of the iceberg, and largely relied on the primitive reward-punishment approach, believing that people must follow their orders due to promise of monetary rewards or because of fear. As a matter of fact, a series of studies have demonstrated that people tend to lose motivation when payment is their only major incentive to do something (Deci, 1995). In turn, the most effective, Level Three leaders, tend to look much deeper, and consider not just the action or behavior itself, but try to understand what motivation drives this behavior.
Therefore, it is important to take into account that each person has distinctive genetic and memetic endowments, as well as different nurtured tendencies, the majority of which derives from the person’s childhood, and is influenced by parents, culture, environment, upbringing, and many other factors. Genetic and memetic endowments, and nurtured tendencies eventually form a set of values, assumptions, beliefs and expectations (VABEs), which are unique to each person, and play a major part in governing behavior. It means that all people are different, and managers must remember that the way they perceive things and react to them can be, and most likely is, different from other people’s.
In order to gain a better understanding of the factors that cause people to behave in a certain way, it is important to grasp the fundamentals of the Rational-Emotive-Behavior model (REB) and its underlying concept of the so-called “meaning chain” (Clawson, 2001, p. 19). According to this concept, people first process their observation of events based on their VABEs, then make conclusions based on that, which causes certain feelings that result in a certain behavior. Obviously, leaders are not psychologists or psychiatrists, and therefore cannot effectively analyze the essence of the essence of other people’s values, which is deeply rooted in their past. What effective leaders can do is to accept the fact that their perception and expectations differ from those of the other people, and try to adjust the situation based on the person’s VABEs, or to some extent alter the VABEs associated with the situation. This can be done through discussion, mentoring, coaching, and other techniques. In order for these techniques to succeed, it is important to set specific time-limits and to monitor the results.
Hence, this article provides vitally useful information for a manager, a leader, or just for anybody. In terms of leadership effectiveness improvement, it contains essential guidelines for understanding and influencing human behavior, thus enhancing the leader’s ability to motivate people, which is one of the core competences in any field of business.
I personally found this article to be particularly educating and helpful. In my future personal and professional life, I will pay much more attention to the reasons behind people’s actions rather than just focusing on their behavior. Moreover, with the help of this article I was able to make several surprising discoveries about myself, recognizing elements of my behavior I did not notice before. I am sure that this new information will allow me to improve my leadership skills and communication skills in general.
Deci, E. (1995). Why People Do What They Do. New York, NY: Penguin.
Clawson, G. J. (2001). A Leader’s Guide to Why People Behave the Way They Do. Charlottesville, VA: Darden Business Publishing.