Q:

Why do people need role models?

A:

Quick Answer

During childhood, people need role models so they can learn how to behave with compassion and in a socially acceptable manner. Adults also need role models to behave in an ethical and positive manner.

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Full Answer

As children are developing they look towards their parents and other adults to learn behaviors. When children experience love, they too learn how to show kindness, empathy and compassion. Very small children learn about emotions by observing the facial expressions of those around them. When they observe certain characteristics, they know how to behave appropriately in a variety of social situations. For example, if someone is hurt they understand that they should show them compassion.

Adults also need role models, especially in the workplace. When employees are exposed to leaders who work hard and behave ethically, they too behave ethically. Similarly, when they see others being reprimanded for unethical actions, they avoid engaging in those actions themselves. With the right leader, adults can make decisions that are principled, which has a positive effect on those around them. The role models adults are exposed to also affect how they see the people around them. Even if someone has benefited from an ethical upbringing, they can unlearn the behaviors they acquired as a child and become unethical when surrounded by poor role models.

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