Leading from the Right: The “Normal” Mentality: what a leader is dealing with 

When an adult has deferred their responsibility onto a perceived authority figure(s), resists learning (and change in general), prefers technical and specialized jobs, has an external material locus of control (Carl Jung), and has built up a defense against changing any of this the leader must be resolute, yet sensitive and very intentional about their role in fostering a more natural resonance of those whom they lead.

This mentality tends to take the course of least resistance, particularly when it come to internal change, though they may be very good at what they do and diligent in their work roles within an organization. Our intention is to revitalize individuals who don’t know they’re in need of it, but who have the potential of adding much creative stimulus to the company and who can eventually lead themselves freeing the leaders to focus on their own creative ambitions.

The natural set point of humans is to resist change, especially if their natural human tendencies have been thwarted, as previously described. This is displayed in a mentality that tends to make general universal assumptions about people, where one should never generalize, but then tend to be hyper-vigilant about their external environs, as external changes require them to change set automatic patterns of behavior that are in conflict with their preset Schema that can be very discordant to these individuals.

Jean Piaget, the eminent Swiss psychologist who added so much to the field of human cognitive development coined the term Schema, or Schemata, to explain behavior patterns that were predictive and automatic.

A Schema is an organized pattern of thought or behavior that organizes categories of information and the relationships among them. It’s a mental structure of preconceived ideas, a framework representing some aspect of the world, or a system of organizing and perceiving new information.

Schemata influence ones awareness and the absorption of new knowledge: people are more likely to notice things that fit into their schema, while re-interpreting contradictions to the schema as exceptions or distorting them to fit. Schemata have a tendency to remain unchanged, even in the face of contradictory information. 

Schemata can help in understanding the world and the rapidly changing environment. People can organize new perceptions into schemata quickly as most situations do not require complex thought when using schema, since automatic thought is all that is required. They help us make decisions with limited information and can be helpful in repetitive tasks, but when dealing with something as complex as another human being, their over-usage (or unaware usage) can be disastrous to both the unaware individual and the organization they are a part of.

Awareness of ones use of a Schema, would be the difference between being on Autopilot and actually learning and assimilating the lessons into an ever integrating and broadening Schemata. Schemas are important in directing the knowledge acquisition process and the way an individual comes to choose schemas is described by metacognition.

Metacognition is ones’ knowledge about cognition and their control of cognition. It is the ability to self-monitor, to self-regulate ones thinking and ones’ resultant behaviors and performance. One who employs metacognition also thinks about one’s own thinking process such as study skills, memory capabilities, awareness and self-awareness, and the ability to monitor learning. These capacities are used to regulate one’s own cognition, to maximize one’s potential, to think, to learn, and to integrate proper ethical/moral rules. Metacognition is the end goal for leading and mentoring essential team members.

Schema Modification
New information that falls within an individual’s schema is easily remembered and incorporated into their worldview. However, when new information is perceived that does not fit a schema, many things can happen. The most common reaction is to simply ignore or quickly forget the new information. This can happen on a deep level— frequently an individual does not become conscious of or even perceive the new information. People may also interpret the new information in a way that minimizes how much they must change their schemata. 

Warping Example, 
Bob thinks that chickens don’t lay eggs. He then sees a chicken laying an egg. 

Instead of changing the part of his schema that says ‘chickens don’t lay eggs’, he is likely to adopt the belief that the animal in question that he has just seen laying an egg is not a real chicken. 

This is an example of ‘disconfirmation bias‘, the tendency to set higher standards for evidence that contradicts one’s expectations. However, when the new information cannot be ignored, existing schemata must be changed or new schemata must be created, the new information is accommodated and eventually assimilated into ones overall worldview.

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