In this second video in my series on attribution, I discuss some of the basic concepts of attribution. An attribution is your explanation for the behavior you observe at work in others and in yourself.
There are two types of attributions: internal and external. An internal attribution means that your explanation for the behavior you observed is something internal to the individual that they can control - e.g. their personality, attitude, values. An external attribution means that your explanation for the behavior you observed is something outside of the individual’s control – e.g. policies, procedures, staffing, training, supervision, equipment, materials, methods.
Attributions are critical because the action you take as a leader is contingent upon your attribution or explanation. If your attribution is not accurate, then you will take the wrong action and be less effective as a leader. For example, if the real reason your employee failed to perform was something outside of their control (external attribution) but you blame them for their failure (internal attribution), you have essentially failed your employee as a leader.
Tomorrow I will discuss two powerful attribution biases – the fundamental attribution error and the self-serving bias – so stay tuned!