Enlightened Conflict

responsible for what you tame

January 25th, 2017

responsible for what you tame leadership people employees

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“People have forgotten this truth,” the fox said. “But you mustn’t forget it. You become responsible forever for what you’ve tamed.”

 

—–

The Little Prince

 

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I cannot play with you,” the fox replies. “I am not tamed.”

 

“What does that mean – to tame?”

 

It means to establish ties. To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world…please, tame me!”

 

I want to, very much,” the Little Prince replied, “but I have not much time. I have friends to discover, and a great many things to understand.”

 

“One only understands the things that one tames,” the fox said.

 

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Leadership.

 

afraid to grow into your heights life loseLeaders have a tough job.

 

We call it managing but in reality it is taming. You tame the independent wildness and tame the ability & potential so you can understand it, and it can understand itself, so that eventually there is a mutual progress to play the game as well as it can be played.

Please note that nowhere in there have I suggested “blind obedience.” Taming, in this view, is reaching true understanding so that real personal growth occurs.

 

That said … in that metaphorical expression of leadership … you own what you tame.

 

I say that because far too often we leaders & managers view management as something we do for the benefit of the organization and, hopefully, the benefit of the people … but we ‘own’ no responsibility for the individual in terms of actions or who they become — and certainly not ‘forever.’

 

Some of us view ourselves as shapers in some form or fashion but lean back against the belief we only dent the surface of who and what the person is and will become.

 

We view what we do as possibly taming but within the purview of just a chapter in their lives … not an entire story.

 

In some ways we do this simply as an act of self-survival.

 

The truth is that investing too much personally into your business; the organization and the employees can … well … kill you.

 

Okay.

Maybe not literally kill you … but figuratively it can become a daily strain on your psychological health.

 

Many of us, out of pragmatism, eye our relationship with employees as a story with a finite end – be it positive, sad, joyful, disappointing or ambiguous – but it is, in reality, just the end of a chapter.

 

The story keeps going.

Ours and theirs.

business inclusiveness

And while we may represent only a chapter in a larger narrative … well … we own what we tame. This is an inclusive way of leading & managing.

 

You include yourself in someone’s Life and … well … you own what part you tame.

 

Uhm.

 

Of course … this can also swing to the opposite more dangerous side – an exclusive leadership side.

 

This is ‘ownership’, not owning, of what you tame.

 

You don’t become part of them you simply offer a voice to them – I sometimes call this ‘pack mentality leadership’.

 

These are the leaders who say “on my team <or in other words “mine”> forever.”

 

Leave and my wrath is upon you.

 

Not want to be tamed by me? you are “un” whatever it is I stand for.

 

And this is where exclusive leadership truly rears its ugly head.

 

There is little vision, there is a lot of ‘features’ in the offering <more money, more jobs, more titles, more wins, more whatever> and therefore the incentives do the work and not any persuasive direction or vision. The ‘pack attitude’ is a means to an end and a vision in and of itself.

 

—-

 

“Managers tend to use compensation as a crutch.

After all, it is far easier to design an incentive system that will do management’s work than it is to articulate a direction persuasively, develop agreement about goals and problems, and confront difficulties when they arise.”


Michael Beer, Harvard professor of business administration

—–

 

chaos team alignmentThe features, the actions & behavior of those who belong on this team, are how they speak of unity and teamwork, i.e., “everyone should act this way … but we are the ones who do.”

 

Or how about this?

 

“The only important thing is the unification of the people – because the other people don’t mean anything.” <Trump used these words once awhile back>

 

In other words … the only people who truly count are the ones who are in this leader’s team.

 

Even worse?

They use the ‘us versus them’ polarization as a means to suggest “team personality & character” all the while these types of leaders actually do it to create their own power structure.

 

They don’t desire to include anyone else nor do they tend to reach out to others <albeit they make some inclusive noises on occasion> they desire to build a construct where people ask to join <because they should, of course, have to ask> and are not asked to join.

 

Excluding leaders love the ‘us versus them’ aspect. They love being derided and they love opposition. All these things do is solidify the team’s belief they are different & better & know more than the others.

 

The team becomes what represents what is real & right and the leader controls what is real & right. The leader’s people are truly the only people that count and the leader hasn’t tamed ability but rather attitude.

 

And here is where the ownership of what you tamed hits a dangerous spot.asshole bad manager

 

The leader has tamed an attitude but feels little ownership of the people themselves. Therefore should the leader decide to move on or get tired of whatever it is they are doing at the moment they feel no remorse in leaving people behind <who still harbor the attitude he/she tamed>.

 

The pack remains, the pack mentality still seethes, but the pack leader is no longer there.

 

Anyway.

 

Let me close with some thoughts.

 

I think it is a healthy thought for every manager & leader to ponder ‘you own what you tame.’

 

Leadership and leading is never easy and I have the scars to show to prove it.

 

Bad we help thatI found it naturally tempting to build a quasi-pack mentality in my groups as a younger leader & manager.

I was, and have always been, a more aggressive business person – I am not fond of status quo and not particularly fond of ‘the safe road.’

 

I can absolutely state that as a manager you can feed off of the ‘pack mentality’ attitude. It is exhilarating and almost like a drug … and maybe more dangerous … it can feed into a self-belief aspect that can edge upon arrogance and obliviousness to the greater good.

 

I don’t think I ever fell off the cliff on this but I certainly got a glimpse of the edge.

 

As I gained more experience I saw the danger in doing so <to my team member, to my organization & to myself> and sought to find some balance.

 

You can tame your people’s ability & attitude and they, and you, will benefit at the time and in the future <whether you are still working together or not>.

 

purposeful ignorance & purposeful lack of listening

January 5th, 2017

 

genius calvin

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Calvin & Hobbes:

“Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?”

 

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Mrs. Wormwood:

“What state do you live in?”

 

Calvin:

“Denial.”

 

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Calvin & Hobbes:

 

“In my opinion, we don’t devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks.”

 

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Well.

 

I am not sure there is anything worse a person can do in my eyes than to ignorance closed mindembrace purposeful ignorance. I may actually believe it is worse than lying.

 

Technically, purposeful ignorance occurs when a person knows the truth but chooses to ignore it, or the person refuses to abandon false beliefs and pursue the development of further knowledge.

 

According to the Urban Dictionary willful ignorance is: the practice or act of intentional and blatant avoidance, disregard or disagreement with facts, empirical evidence and well-founded arguments because they oppose or contradict your own existing personal beliefs.”

 

But, to me, there are three levels of purposeful ignorance:

 

  • accepted ignorance: I have an attitude, perception or belief and I go about my life doing nothing to engage my thinking and expand what I know <unlearning avoidance is what I call this>

 

 

  • confirmed ignorance: with the intent to show everyone that I am not ignorant I actually proactively engage in news & opinion offerors … uhm … but I only do so with those who have the same attitudes, perceptions and beliefs that I do <learning how to better articulate what I already think is what I call this>.

 

 

  • ignorant ignorance: I actively engage with people who have different views and maybe even have some discussions and give the impression I am open minded … but even while nodding my head sagely I am simply building additional walls around what I already believe and think <listening without listening is what I call this>

 

The last of those three is the most heinous type of ignorance. You actually have the opportunity to learn and you choose to not learn diddleysquat.

 

It is heinous to me because there are gobs of well-intended people who are smart but just don’t actively engage in learning new shit because … well … they got shit to do.

 

Do I like that they are unengaged in learning & unlearning? No.

 

Can I see how it could happen? Yes.

 

In addition … almost every single one of us have moments of purposeful shortcuts not thereignorance.

 

At its worst it is a conscious choice to be ignorant rather than challenge themselves and acknowledge a truth about reality.

At its best we have simply bucketed some things in our minds as ‘decided’ in order to short cut some things and invest energy in others <and we all do the this>.

 

To be clear on this issue.

 

The reason I think people who do the third type of purposeful ignorance should be strapped to some pole and whipped is because they are consciously & actively being ignorant while most of us accept our ignorance because we admittedly like to think we understand things and we certainly understand that challenging what we already believe is difficult.

 

For most of us challenging what we believe is difficult because it means admitting that beliefs are subject to change and some could actually be wrong … and … well … we feel much more comfortable thinking that some things are just etched in stone.

 

This is not denial this is simply avoidance.

And we all do it on occasion.

 

But we also do not go through the motions of publicly showcasing that we are actively listening to try and challenge our beliefs.

We accept them and observe them and articulate them.

 

That’s it.

 

unlearn business tired old ideasAnd maybe this is simple laziness in not wanting to have to do the work to rethink opinions & beliefs and unlearning shit we thought we knew and then having to explain why we change dour minds and … well … you get it.

 

Our closemindedness is mostly driven by avoidance <purposeful or not>.

 

And I even give some people a break on this topic.

 

Psychological research tells us that some people are cognitively complex while others prefer cognitive simplicity, in other words, some people are open to experience while other are closed minded.

Some people are cognitively flexible while others are cognitively rigid.

 

I could suggest that those who are cognitively simple, closed minded and/or rigid are much more likely to engage in the ‘accepted ignorance’ level of purposeful ignorance that I noted earlier.

 

These are not stupid people by any stretch of the imagination and they most certainly have the ability to be ‘smart’ <or broader in thinking> … they are simply people who would rather be comfortably ignorant rather than ‘intellectually smart’.

 

In addition … Urban Dictionary suggests that some people are “cognitive misers“, i.e., they do not to examine things intellectually if they don’t feel they have to.

 

And another valid reason is … well … conformity. While this sounds ‘sheeplike’ it obvious sheep hughis not always. We all engage in some aspects of conformity because it helps us not only fit in but provide us with some daily stability which permits us to engage our energy elsewhere. That is why a shitload of people tend to believe what those around them believe because questioning those beliefs would lead to conflict, possibly rejection and … well … energy investment.

 

And, look, there are some nice benefits to conforming.

 

Conformists have the greater potential to find a mate, or mates, to climb the social ladder of “success,” to have others speak well of them and to enjoy the benefits of a social support system.

 

And, with all that said, you know what? I can live with that.

 

As much as a curious, always seeking truth, person like me finds purposeful ignorance to be an egregious & utter lack of responsibility to living Life to its fullest and being engaged in Life … in general … I accept that there are some acceptable versions of purposeful ignorance <and, yet, I will do anything I can to break thru to these people and engage in some thoughtful thinking>.

 

I absolutely believe that learning and unlearning, is a lifelong process and ultimately leads to a fuller, richer Life. I will participate in learning/unlearning through my own discussions and I will engage with anyone, anywhere, on any topic, at any time.

 

I understand that deeply ingrained purposeful ignorance is incredibly difficult to change but I also never, ever, underestimate people’s capacity for change.

 

I will continue to be interested in the views of others, even where I disagree with them, and I will always be interested in understanding why others act and think in the way that they do.

 

I believe the importance of this type of relevant knowledge mainly resides in the ultimate negotiation of ‘what will be.’ in other words … how we, as people, achieve the best possible outcomes.

 

And that is why I will end here.

 

My third level of purposeful ignorance, “Ignorant ignorance”, is evil.

hunter bad boss assholeAnd it takes an evil person to consciously commit it.

 

I cannot even attempt to understand how someone could fuck with learning & unlearning in such a purposeful manner. Faking learning, or an interest in learning … or faking sincere curiosity … is maybe the most heinous act one could commit.

 

They are jerks. And, unfortunately, we have no scientific research for a cure for jerks.

 

 

 

Enlightened Conflict