“But, I think understanding motivation is important for a manager,” Bailey protested.
“And so, when did you become a mind reader?” I asked.
“You know very well, I don’t pretend to be a mind reader,” Bailey continued to push back.
“Yet, there you go, looking for something inside a person that you cannot see.”
“Then, just exactly what are we supposed to do?”
“Don’t play amateur psychologist. Stay out of people’s heads. If you want to know who people are and what they are capable of, don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do. If you want to play the motivation game, you will find a ton of popular psychology, pop psychology, answers. There are books and assessments that propose to teach you the insights we should all have, as leaders, about those on our teams. But, if you want to be an effective manager, you have to think differently. And you cannot think differently if you continue your search in this invisible stuff. You will confuse yourself and those around you.
“If you want to know who people are and what they are capable of, watch what they do.”*
These were the watchwords of the late Charles Krauthammer observing the behavior of presidents and presidential candidates. “Don’t listen to what they say, watch what they do.”