Do you know the reasons behind why people behave in strange ways that defy logical explanation – like giving up their high-ranking job, migrating to a land faraway or settling for a much lower paid job?

Many do not understand why and often brush aside such decisions as silly, illogical or there must be something wrong with these people. But, is this the truth? Furthermore, when we understand where they are coming from, this puts us in an advantagous position to understand the world they face around them.

Our ability to understand people’s actions and behaviour is indeed a very important skill that will benefit anyone – especially those people in leadership position. The ability to “size people up” can give one a head start in communicating, negotiating, settling a conflict or solving other issues.

This theory is not new, for even in warfare, the famous ancient philosopher Chun Tzu once said that “Knowing thy enemies” is the most powerful weapon to win a war!

Let me provide you with some information that all leaders should know about why people behave the way they do. The first thing to understand is that people have different “ego states” – of either that of a parent, child or adult which operates autonomously from one another, and generates fairly distinctive behavioural characteristics.

People with a “parent” ego state are usually more serious than others and might have somewhat fixed ways as well as beliefs in their perception of people and situations. They are known to be people who are fond of making instructional remarks like, “You ought to exercise at least four times a week”; “You aren’t hardworking” or “I think you need help in your work”. Usually, they are known to have picked this up from authoritative parents during their early childhood.

On the other extreme end are people with a “child” ego state that causes them to behave exactly the opposite way. This can be seen in how they can be more repressed and fearful than others, and can easily get hurt or be ashamed due to their rather “fragile” nature.

On the other hand, their positive side lies in them possessing curiosity that makes them more adventurous and creative than others. In such a state, they run the risk of living like a “sponge” in their early years – recording everything they see and hear and then later, reproducing the “unedited” versions of themselves in adulthood. The danger Is if these “unedited versions” are not-so-good reflections of their observations in their early lives, they can become an issue to deal with

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