Leadership & Human Behaviour 5

Leadership & Human Behaviour 5:

The tragedy of man is not that he dies, but what dies within him while he still lives.– Albert Schweitzer.

I am concluding on Leadership and human behavior. I started on the attributes of leaders and enumerated some points on Leadership’s framework; the remaining guides are enumerated here:

  •    KNOW human nature: A leader must know human needs, emotions, and how people respond to stress.
  •    KNOW your job: A leader must be proficient and be able to train others in their tasks.
  •    KNOW your organization: A leader must know where to seek help, its climate and culture, and who the unofficial leaders and followers are.
  •    DO provide direction: goal setting, problem-solving, decision-making, and planning.
  •    DO implement: communicate, coordinate, supervise, and evaluate.
  •    DO motivate: develop morale and esprit de corps in the group or organization, train, coach, and counsel.

 Roles and Relationships:

Roles are the positions defined by a set of expectations about the behavior of any job incumbent. Each role has a set of tasks and responsibilities that may or may not be spelled out. Roles have a powerful effect on behavior for several reasons, including money being paid for the performance of the role, there is prestige attached to a role, and a sense of accomplishment or challenge. A role’s tasks determine relationships. While some tasks are performed alone, most are carried out in relationships with others.

The tasks will determine who the role-holder must interact with, how often, and towards what end. The greater the interaction, the greater the relationship, which leads to more frequent interaction. In human behavior, it is hard to like someone we have no contact with, and we tend to seek out those we like. People tend to do what they are rewarded for, and friendship is a mighty reward. These relationships bring about many tasks and behaviors associated with a role. New tasks and behaviors are expected of the present role-holder because a strong relationship was developed in the past, either by that role-holder or a prior role-holder.

 Culture and Climate:

The two distinct forces that dictate how to act within an organization are Culture and Climate. Each organization has its own distinctive culture. It combines the founders, past Leadership, current Leadership, crises, events, history, and size (Newstrom, Davis, 1993). These results in rites: the routines, rituals, and the “way we do things.” These rites impact individual behavior on what it takes to be in good standing (the norm) and direct the appropriate behavior for each circumstance.

The climate is the feel of the organization, the individual, and the members’ shared perceptions and attitudes (Ivancevich, Konopaske, Matteson, 2007). While culture is the deeply rooted nature of the organization as a result of long-held formal and informal systems, rules, traditions, and customs, the climate is a short-term phenomenon created by the current Leadership. Climate represents the beliefs about the “feel of the organization” by its members. The individual perception of the “feel of the organization” comes from people’s beliefs about the organization’s activities. These activities influence both individual and team motivation and satisfaction.

Organizational climate is directly related to the leadership and management style of the leader, based on the values, attributes, skills, and actions, as well as the leader’s priorities. Compare this to “ethical climate” — the “feel of the organization” about the activities with ethical content or those aspects of the work environment that constitute ethical behavior. The ethical climate is the feeling about whether we do things right; or whether we behave the way we ought to. The behavior (character) of the leader is the most critical factor that impacts the climate. On the other hand, culture is a long-term, complex phenomenon.

Culture represents the shared expectations and self-image of the organization. The mature values that create “tradition” or the “way we do things here.” Things are done differently in every organization. The collective vision and common folklore that define the institution reflect culture. Individual leaders cannot easily create or change the culture because culture is a part of the organization. Culture influences the characteristics of the climate by its effect on the actions and thought processes of the leader. But everything you do as a leader will affect the climate of your group or organization.

 The Process of Great Leadership:

The roads to outstanding Leadership that is common to successful leaders, as espoused by Kouzes & Posner, 1987 are:

  • Challenging the process– First, find a process that you believe needs improvement.
  • Inspiring a shared vision– Next, share your vision in words your followers can understand.
  • Enabling others to act– Give them the tools and methods to solve the problem.
  • Model the way– Get your hands dirty when the process gets tricky. A boss tells others what to do; a leader shows that it can be done.
  • Encouraging the hearts– Share the glory with your followers’ hearts while keeping the pains within your own.

Human nature is one of those things no one can define precisely. Every time we fall in love, fight with our spouses or get upset about anything, we are, in part, behaving as a human animal with our unique evolved nature – human nature. They are two interpretations to this; first, our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are produced not only by our individual experiences and environment in our lifetime but also by what happened to our ancestors millions of years ago, at least for Africans. Second, our thoughts, feelings, and behavior are shared, to a large extent, by all men and women, despite seemingly significant cultural differences.

Human behavior is a product of our innate human nature and our individual experiences and environment. Evolutionary psychologists see human nature as a collection of psychological adaptations that often operate beneath conscious thinking to solve problems of survival and reproduction by predisposing us to think or feel in specific ways. Our preference for sweets and fats is an evolved psychological mechanism. We do not consciously choose to like sweets and fats; they taste good.

Talent On-the-Bubble: Addressing Human Behavior at Work:

Bring Out Achievement Behavior (Emmett C. Murphy, Ph.D.)

Talent IQ is the baby of Dr. Murphy. One of the great lessons from Talent IQ is that the performance of Talent gone awry is very seriously under-addressed in organizational life. Called “Talent On the Bubble,” Talent on the bubble can mock organizational values, sap creative energy, and drive highly talented top performers out. To the extent that positive energies from high achievers create a magnet of hope. And achievement, talent on-the-bubble behavior constitutes an anchor of negativism, irresponsibility, and contempt. While leaders want to get to the positive side of the performance equation, to the extent they avoid taking responsibility to address the talent on-the-bubble challenge, they drop an anchor on progress and an evidentiary path of their on-the-bubble behavior.

What Is On-the-Bubble Human Behavior?

On-the-bubble human behavior is the mirror opposite of achievement behavior. Achievement is moving up the ladder of responsibility for one’s behavior from achievement to partnership, commitment, optimism, and responsibility. On-the-bubble behavior, on the other hand, moves an employee down a treacherous slope from fence-sitting to avoidance, hostility, contempt, and irresponsibility. And, where achievement is expressed through the positive paths of service, innovation, and management, on-the-bubble human behavior plants weapons of explosive treachery. Instead of engagement, empathy, generosity, benevolence, guidance, and responsibility in service, the on-the-bubble person, plays the procrastinator, martyr, critical gossip, manipulator, and backstabber.

Played down this path, the on-the-bubble person systematically destabilizes a group or the workplace, leaving a path of chaos in their wake. And, where the Innovator moves up the ladder from seeker to knowledge leader, empowerer, discoverer, and break-through thinker, the on-the-bubble human sinkhole moves from narcissist to deer-in-the-headlights to black hole, fatalist and suicide, sucking the creative energy out of the organization in an ultimately futile act of personal sabotage.

The fiduciary manager sometimes moves from organizing and prioritizing to bringing order from confusion to building relationship clusters. Act on those priorities and serve as a mission and values guardian. To direct problem-solving in the front lines to infuse hope and resolve. In heroic Leadership, where vision is translated into comprehensive practice, the on-the-bubble human moves from stonewalling progress to curmudgeonly avoidance, sadistic bullying, calculated bombing, and, ultimately, sociopathic predation.

We shall never know how many acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of appearing not sufficiently progressive. –  Charles Peguy, French Poet.

Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Please do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity. – W. Clement Stone. 


Leave a Reply