The Surprise Reaction – How We Tend To Behave

Have you ever looked at someone and thought you knew how they might react to a given task or a bit of news?  Maybe you thought they would procrastinate.  Perhaps they would “forget” about it, with you knowing you would have to remind them of it later.  Maybe you knew they would outright dismiss it….

Instead, they wound up doing the exact opposite of how you thought they would react. 

My wife can guess with certain accuracy how I might react to bad news or the latest gossip around the family friends.  However, she cannot say with 100% accuracy how I will ALWAYS react (unless something in our house just broke – I turn into a raging gorilla).  She only knows how I tend to react. 

The same can be said about my behavior.  I usually follow the same patterns for unwinding after I get home from the office.  Does that mean I will always come home, get changed into fleece pants with a t-shirt, and sit down on the couch for a rerun of Hell’s Kitchen?  Certainly not!  Sometimes I have the need to do something different.  It’s not about what I will do, but rather what I tend to do.

Behavior is not set in stone.  We look at those around us (friends, family, coworkers, etc…) and say we know them and their behavior as if we can predict the future. 

Is it probable that someone might behave the same way we’ve seen in the past to a similar situation? – Yes. 

Is it guaranteed that they will behave that way? – Certainly not.  It’s an important distinction that we shouldn’t forget. 

The bottom line is that we need to stop judging/labeling people because of their past behavior.  Everyone has the ability to change their behavior, even on the fly, and as a result, can change how we perceive them.

Speaking of behavior, be sure to register for The Ken Blanchard Companies’ “Quit and Stayed” live broadcast coming up on January 25th if you haven’t already done so.  There will be lots of well known speakers and thought leaders sharing their perspectives on employee motivation in the workplace. 

You can find more information and register for the FREE livecast HERE.

Be sure to leave your comments!

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  • Comments (3)
    • Sue K
    • January 13th, 2012

    Judging people only on their past behavior leaves little room for redemption. Often, after people have made mistakes is when they are in most need of a little encouragement. If no one shows any sign of hope that an individual may improve (or learn from the outcome of past behavior), then sometimes that individual begins believing it themselves. I think that a good leader will help uplift a fallen comrade so that they have a better chance of getting back on track.

    • Well said, Sue! Adding to your comment, without having room for redemption, where is the incentive to improve?

  1. Great article!! We all see through different lens and sometimes we are not seeing it the right way. Changing perspective on things is critical for growth. I actually wrote a blog on “I can change” there is two parts. Both are good for further understanding on change. Once again great article!! jleal-focuspointtopics.com is my blog 🙂

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