Is human behavior an art or a science? In actuality, it’s both. Like art, we can experience it, change it, interpret it, and clearly enjoy it. It’s something we can feel and adapt to particular situations, as necessary. Personality is the component of human behavior, which is generally more constant, while behavior is a part of it that has its natural tendencies but can be modified, but first we need to be aware of what those tendencies are.

As a science, behavior can be observed and repeated. We can study it without bias and collect data. Research over time has shown us that we can observe patterns in behavior in most people . Once this data is collected, we can therefore make predictions as to outcomes.

In everyday life, there are many things that we do automatically. Animals are often predictable, too; therefore how we would interact with a newborn puppy versus a full-grown lion would obviously be different. It is when we are most comfortable with ourselves as well as those who are around us that we tend to behave in our most natural state. Through socialization, we have learned to change our behavior for different situations. As humans, we are like the other animals that sometimes are “tamed”.

That’s not to say that our employees, co-workers, supervisors, spouses, children or parents are like animals in the wild but by nature, their behavior styles will be different. Wouldn’t we benefit then from knowing our own natural approach to the world first and then better understand the people around us? If we were clearer on how to approach them, how to interact with them, how to motivate them, how to lead them wouldn’t there be more gain, less conflict?

So we agree that we would approach different animals differently. But what is this based on? It’s based on our knowledge of how we expect them to react. Can we apply this information to people? Absolutely. Like the other animals, if we are informed on how they are expected to react, we will be safer and have greater success in our interactions with them.

Keep in mind that it’s not a matter of right or wrong, good or bad. Rather it’s a growing understanding of all types of behavior so that we can have better relationships with those in our world.

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