Understanding Behaviour – central to Personal & Professional Success

Understanding Behaviour – central to Personal & Professional Success

Sridhar Rao

Management Coach & Business Mentor


In the recent past, the President of the oldest, and one of the evolved, democracies was criticised severely for his behaviour skills. An inglorious exit was the net result.

Steve Jobs was one very successful professional and entrepreneur, who regretted towards the end of his life the low level of relationship he maintained with his family, specially his children.

Across the world, there have been so many leaders, in politics, business, social work or sports, whose behaviour and handling of people and situations have been subject to severe criticism.

There are also so many cases where people did well professionally but had unhappy personal lives due to relationship issues.

No focus on developing behaviour skills in the early years

Behaviour is an indicator of our deeper personality . It is like a symptom that tells us if something is amiss within. Understanding behaviour is therefore key to bringing change within ourselves.

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Right from childhood, we hear parents, teachers and other well meaning people telling us to “be good”, or “be strong” or to follow a certain kind of person or personality style.

Soon, education and academic performance takes over the entire time and focus and there’s hardly any focus on formally evolving behaviour and personality, as we grow up.

Each one is left to his or her own self to evolve as a person with casual prescriptions coming off and on.

Academic and professional success often brings in competitiveness, a sense of complacency, arrogance and a sense of entitlement. On the other hand, lack of adequate success develops low self esteem, dejection and in some cases, even depression.

These in turn start impacting our behaviour. Much later in life, we look back in regret saying “if I had been a little more…., may be I would have…”

Early life learning defines the belief system

Our behaviour is a result of our learnings in life, from infancy onwards. What we learn is dependent on the experiences we had with parents and others around us.

Our early stage learning lays the foundation of our attitudes and beliefs and develops a self image. These in turn start determining our actions and reactions at every step. A behaviour style sets in and gets embedded when we do not step back to check ourselves.

The behaviour style, in turn affects our life’s choices, our interactions, relationships and how others perceive us; resulting in the successes and failures we encounter. Successes or failures, in turn further affect our self image; and this goes on like a vicious cycle.

Till we wake up one day when the back’s to the wall, when something serious happens in the professional or personal life. Often, after a lot of time in life is lost.

As we get into adulthood, it therefore is a good idea to take periodic pauses and reflect. It is useful to understand the root causes of our normal style of behaviour; our normal way of talking, reacting or handling situations. And understand how the root causes are helping or inhibiting us.

Self Awareness and Mindfulness bring objectivity

In order to lead a happy and satisfactory life, it is worth working towards building a sane and balanced outlook of one’s life; and developing a personal philosophy of life.

This happens when we have an objective assessment of ourselves and the situations we face; and have behaviour skills that keep evolving because of this objectivity.

Objectivity comes as we become self aware and mindful of every positive and negative aspect about ourselves. This objectivity leads to better choices in life, lower stress levels and balanced relationships. All of which lead to success and happiness in professional and personal lives.

While we are learning to become professionals in one or the other space, we need to therefore set aside time to understand ourselves and others; refine behaviour skills, manage our relationships and the impact we have on others.

The earlier this is realised, the better it is for us.

Online learning an opportunity to work on self discovery

While individuals and organisations put total focus on work skills, unfortunately, there is very little done to help individuals evolve their personalities.

Often training programs tend to focus on what could help improve work or the atmosphere at work.The focus is much lower on a deeper understanding of oneself.Self Discovery comes up much later part of life; almost close to retirement, when people tend to get interested in philosophy.

If the effort to get a deeper understanding of oneself starts early in life, say, at the age of 25, it could help in many ways.

  • Set the right direction in life for each person with clarity of one’s life needs and goals. 
  • Build a personality that has the right behaviour skills and maturity to handle responsibilities at work and in personal life.
  • Help the individual evolve as a leader and an example for others to follow.
  • Build resilience, which enables explore options, instead of succumbing to challenges.

Today, with online learning becoming popular, there is an opportunity to build a continuous learning and evolution process for oneself; without depending on the employer to plan something meaningful.

Likewise, taking help from a Counsellor, Therapist or a Coach, depending on the need, helps with professional guidance in looking at issues objectively and finding the way ahead through one-to-one discussions.

Just as we select books, entertainment, leisure activities and hobbies, it is now possible to periodically look at life management knowledge and skill improvement; at our own time and pace.

The critical thing is being aware of the need to join programs or taking professional help, to discover oneself. Start your journey in self discovery today!

Sridhar Rao is a Management Coach and Mentor and is available for one to one sessions online as a part of the InfinumGrowth Coaching panel. Click to know more.

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