The Internal Locus refers to the idea that some people believe that all of their actions are their own decisions. All of their movement, all of their direction, comes from immediately and internally driven forces. Moving your Locus inward has two effects; it leads to passion, belief, and responsibility. Internally driven people very rarely end up in massive leadership roles, because there’s an element of selfishness to pure internal drive; in their generosity they are greedy, as Peter Petrelli told his brother Nathan on Heroes recently.
A person who has an external locus is more liable to put the motivation (blame or praise) in the hands of others. Zealots who act on behalf of faith they have in an idea(l) are often externally driven. The fuel for this can be either external praise, some form of reward (money, praise, heaven) and so on. It leads people to a lack of responsibility because their reasons are never their own – whether through personal dissociation, or through legitimate dissociation such as following orders. External locus is a military mindset, but not a leadership mindset; however, people who are leaders are often very good at recognizing external locus in themselves and others, and either manipulating it, encouraging it, or dismissing it. Cult leaders are not necessarily externally driven, but they have a knack for becoming the external drive of others, like wells of gravity for self-appreciation.
Have you recognized which of these you are yet? If you have, how have you put this tendency (because it’s not a hard line) to your best good?