Is this important to the leader? It varies. A high level official once told me he could not know the motivations of his direct reports, he could only see the results, so he concerned himself only with behaviors and results. Pragmatic. My guess is there are times when we would like better insights into another.
Joseph Rychlak’s sixth point in the last chapter of Discovering Free Will and Personal Responsibility addressed understanding others:
6. To understand other people, always think about them from an introspective perspective.
In other words, to understand another person, to see how that person comes at the world, how he or she interprets situations, we have to think about that person introspectively. We have to try to look through their eyes, listen with their ears.
Rychlak commented on Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage” and that we are all players. But Rychlak went further. He stated a play begins with a “scenario to be enacted.” We are not only players, but also playwrights. Part of understanding how another gives meaning is to understand the games we play, to understand the scenarios in which we are a part.
1. Thinking introspectively about others is difficult. We live in our skin with all the perceptions we create. To stop and focus on another, to listen actively, to understand another person is hard. But trying to do this, no matter how incomplete, will bring us closer to understanding another than if we do not try.
2. What games do we play? How do we see our role in the scenarios we create? What roles do we play in the scenarios of other people? Perhaps we should analyze the scenarios of which we are a part.
Image of Joseph Rychlak courtesy of L. Rychlak and used with her permission.
Rychlak, J. F. (1979). Discovering free will and personal responsibility. New York: Oxford University Press.