Amidst what may have seemed to be a lot of mumbo-jumbo, the course on Individual and Group Behaviour suggested to you that, if you want to understand a person, you must listen to the person's beliefs and feelings. Must you understand people? Well, the choice is really yours! Persuading people honorably to cooperate with you could not be done without understanding. Assuming you want to understand others, the course took you through ways of doing so.
In the area of human behaviour, however, there is as yet no dogma--save for the one that follows! The knowledge you have acquired here about human behaviour should not make you believe that you are in possession of a recipe or a set of rules. It should certainly help you to become more curious about your own experiences and more sensitive to them. Beyond that, you must test out for yourself the consequences of the ways you behave and use them as feedback so as to improve the efficacy of your subsequent behaviour.
No matter what your personal leanings (attitudes!) to theoretical knowledge, you cannot stop behaving and interacting. Therefore you have to get started somewhere. Start listening to yourself and make a habit of it. You may begin by analysing a past situation in which you were involved and detect how your beliefs and feelings affected the situation. Gradually you can shift the introspection to a here-and-now experience. With practice, you will be able to see for yourself how far and how, at times, insidiously your outer world gets affected by your inside; how your own needs, beliefs and feelings colour your perception of things, events and people.
Management involves, inter alia, dealing with people and getting things done through them. One approach to management that does not destroy human dignity is to manage people with understanding. If you can listen (which you should have first practised in relation to yourself) to understand the sentiments and situations -- not just the words -- of persons you are to deal with, you can guide or persuade them much more effectively. No doubt, such understanding can facilitate manipulation, too. But manipulation, besides being foul, can boomerang with a vengeance--when the dog has his day!
You cannot, and you need not, understand all the beliefs, hopes, fears, and emotions of every person you encounter. But if you seriously practise active listening (which, though initially difficult, can come with relative ease after practice), you will with no extra effort understand more and more people than you could ever do with the best of intentions minus the active listening of the kind we discussed in the course.
Personnel management has for long been recognised as an important function of management. Many organisations are now increasingly switching over to the concept of HRD (Human Resources Development) from the traditional one of personnel management. Management of people, if it is to be meaningful for the parties involved, must be concerned about the development both of the manager and the managed. You, the manager, must grow by developing your potential to be more and more effective and, at the same time, help your subordinates develop their potential, too. That is how organisations can raise their own human resources. You will learn more about this in a third-term course.
If you are willing to try out what you have learnt in the present course, here are a few suggestions:-
Given a context:
1. Be clear about what is expected of you. Perceptions of expectations will influence your behaviour.
2. Listen to yourself and know your behavioural tendencies. Identify areas in which you are secure and where you will need help.
3. Do not pretend; do not bluff. Be authentic. Pretensions will breed pretensions.
4. Do not be secretive. If you are, people won't trust you.
5. Observe confidentiality. Else you will lose respect.
6. Own up responsibility; do not shy away from it. You will grow by taking up responsibility.
7. Play fair; do not engage in favouritism.
8. Do not lose your temper -- even though some behavioural scientists may justify or advocate the contrary.
9. Take the trouble of knowing the names of people you have to interact with. Listen to them and you will see that you can also learn from them.
10. Detect the potential in your subordinates and build them up by giving responsibility.
11. Listen to your boss. His point of view is important. His frame of reference is very likely to be different from yours.
12. Do not be a "yes man"; else you will smother yourself.
13. Express, encourage and explore genuine disagreements; you will grow and help others grow, by doing so.