I am going to start a series on attribution – how we explain the behavior we observe in ourselves and others – which I think is one of the most critical concepts leaders need to be aware of. But before I get started on attribution, I need to cover the concept of locus of control again because I will reach a point in my discussion of attribution where I will need to reconcile an apparent conflict between the two concepts.
Locus of control (LOC) is a personality trait, and it’s one of the most important things I look and listen for when I develop new relationships with people. LOC is the belief an individual holds about who or what controls events and behavior. Those with an internal LOC believe they are responsible for and in control of their behavior, while those with an external LOC assume less responsibility for their behavior based on the belief that their behavior is strongly influenced by factors outside of their control.
Most people believe they have a strong internal LOC but in fact are probably more external than they realize or want to admit. As leaders, we don’t want to say that internals are better than externals, but we do need to realize they are different and need to be managed differently.
Tomorrow I will start my series on attribution with an introduction to the concept, so stay tuned!