'Ass-Kicking' as an Influence Strategy

One of the most common and pernicious ways we undermine our own influence is by reducing complex human problems to a simple lack of the right motives. We assume that if people just cared enough, they would perform better. Social scientists call this knee-jerk diagnosis the fundamental attribution error. When people cause us pain, suffering, or even inconvenience, we quickly attribute their troublesome behavior largely to their nasty or indolent motives.

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