How can behavioral science make you a better manager?
Many factors come into play when deciding whether a person is a good manager. Their skills, dedication, experience, and work ethic have a part to play in their promotion to a managerial level. Managers are also often backed up by solid qualifications.
Different fields of study are specifically dedicated to training and building up managers, such as business administration or management sciences. What many people tend to overlook is that behavioral science is just as important in aiding managers as any other form of science.
If you think about it, it makes perfect sense that a manager must understand and regulate their own behaviors along with those of their employees. Read on to understand how managers are better at their jobs thanks to behavioral science.
What is behavioral science? In simple words, behavioral science is understanding how a person reacts to their environment, different stimuli, and interactions with others. It is a codex of human behavior and how it can be monitored and understood so as to better function.
This definition alone explains why it is important for every manager to be aware of this subject because they ultimately deal with people. If they are able to regulate their behaviors, then they will be able to manage far more effectively.
Most researchers who have worked on behavioral science always address its relationship with biases. This makes sense because any bias we have can control or, at the very least, influence our behavior. We tend to like people who are similar to us, feel threatened by differences, fall for first impressions, and are also prone to judgment. All of this is true because we have cognitive biases.
We all have certain biases – this is as natural as human life itself. While we cannot completely get rid of every single bias that we possess, we can certainly learn to think rationally.
Behavioral science plays a pivotal role in establishing that managers or leaders need to learn how to look past the biases they may have. For example, anchoring bias suggests that you hold on to one quality that a person displays and form your opinions of them based on it.
Let’s say that an employee speaks up during a meeting to say how the task assigned to them is difficult. A manager using anchoring bias would think that this employee is flaky and shies away from challenges. If, moving forward, the manager never gives this employee any meaningful tasks in the belief that they don’t have what it takes, then it would be unfair to the employee.
Therefore, behavioral science argues that good managers have to be aware of the biases they possess so that they may be able to use their logic instead. That is how they will be able to lead progressively.
How behavioral science affects managerial performance
Although managers in every business function should have a basic understanding of behavioral science, human resources is a function that particularly benefits from behavioral science. Because HR managers have to deal with employees around the clock, they also have to be experts in behavior management. If they don’t really know how to deal with behaviors, can they be trusted to deal with people? HR can’t simply fire people for acting out or for not performing well. They need to get down to the root cause of why an employee is struggling, either socially or in terms of their performance.
Performance management is an area of HR that can be drastically improved when behavioral science principles are applied. It enables managers to set out realistic and achievable goals for employees.
Managers with a good understanding of behaviors are also able to foster innovation and creativity. They allow their employees a good deal of autonomy so that they can perform their best.
Behavior-conscious managers are also able to delegate tasks better. They understand which employee is best suited for a particular activity so that the overall productivity of the workplace enhances. They can also sympathize with employees when they are going through a rough time. It makes them far more empathetic, thereby allowing employees to trust them.
The overall business operations improve due to managers being behavior conscious. The employees are happier, they feel motivated, they have a brilliant manager they can look up to, and they perform their best. In fact, workplaces that highlight the importance of behavioral sciences have constructive work cultures that welcome innovation.
The best talent will be willing to work for an organization that values its staff and has outstanding employee-centric policies. To sum up, there is no downside to a manager being behaviorally intelligent.
If you work for a company and want to advance your career to a managerial role, consider improving your qualifications. Getting a master’s degree will amplify your chances of being promoted. An MBA would be the ideal choice for you because it will equip you with sufficient business knowledge and has many behavioral science courses in the form of psychology, sociology, organizational behavior, etc.
For those of you who want to progress in your career, looking into pursuing an online MBA degree from Aston University. You don’t have to quit your job to study; it is all virtual, and you get to be part of an excellent institute for learning management sciences.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will have a newfound appreciation for behavioral science. Everyone should have a basic understanding of this science, but managers must have a thorough understanding.