[December 03, 2013] Senior executive leaders, by the nature of their position, must possess a grounded, pragmatic, and experienced understanding of human psychology. By that, I don’t mean they have academic training in psychological theories or a college degree in psychology or sociology.
The most successful senior leader knows people; what makes them “tick.”
Being a leader at any level and acquiring this appreciation of people is absolutely necessary. Without the ability to connect to people and get a good read on their wants and needs, a leader will fail. We’ve all seen inexperienced leaders try their best to organize a team and miserably fall short.
“Psychology is as important as substance. If you treat people with respect, they will go out of their way to accommodate you. If you treat them in a patronizing way, they will go out of their way to make your life difficult.” – Mohamed ElBaradei, Egyptian Diplomat, Scholar, and Nobel Prize winner
Children spontaneously “know” that a person does not connect with them and will act out accordingly. This is best illustrated in schools; as teachers know at the beginning of the school year that they must quickly gain the attention and confidence of the students or their class will fail to learn the required material and there will be disciplinary problems.
Adults also know when a leader lacks this ability. And, they know when a leader is deficient in the basic understanding of people. Such a leader is immediately “written off” as a person not having the aptitude to work with them or assist them.
The best senior leaders make a special effort by dedicating their attention, over their lifetime, in the study and understanding of people psychology.