Thought for the Week: What is your motive?

"It is motive alone that gives character to the action of men."  Jean de la Bruyere

It is interesting how often leaders propose that they don't care why somebody does something—only that they do it. It is perhaps a part of our mechanistic view of life that, if we can not observe a phenomenon, than it either does not exist or is entirely unimportant.

Yet it is the character of a person that determines the consistency of that person's actions. Unless we understand something of a person's motives, we are unable to infer priorities or predict behaviors under different circumstances.

IStock_000002195262XSmall  While it makes sense for the leader to attempt to understand the motives of his or her followers, it is even more challenging and more useful to understand the motives of self. It is uncomfortable sometimes to engage in this level of reflection because, to understand ones true motives is to understand what makes us tick. And understanding ourselves means not only understanding our strengths, but acknowledging weaknesses that we would prefer to ignore.

Without knowledge of both, we will be at the unpredictable mercy of the priority of the moment. Without knowledge of our own motives we will also struggle to find consistency of purpose that comes with character.

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