Conflicting Impulses

Conflicting Impulses

We are hardwired to feel conflicting emotions. As leaders, we must continually assess our options and arrive at acceptable decisions.

Animals don’t have this problem. After acquiring food, shelter, a mate and ways to defend themselves against threats, they’re basically set. We, on the other hand, must balance two additional drives:

· To bond with, trust and care for other people (and to be trusted and cared for by them)

· To make sense of our lives (understand the “why” and “how”)

These additional drives allow us to adapt better than lower animals, and they also explain why our brains are three times larger than those of our nearest primate ancestors. But the drives also make us more responsive to the environment, giving us more to react to and consider when making decisions.

Modern managers and leaders must take into account so many different impulses. They must balance their teams’ needs and desires against those of the boss, corporation, customers, environment, and self.

We are built to work and achieve in groups: to lead and follow, to learn from each other, to trust, to protect and care for each other, to acquire what we need collectively even if we later enjoy it individually. We have evolved in this way because it’s a very successful means of survival.