Perhaps apt, perhaps “who cares?” that I follow my #fantasy blog post with this one. Not intentional but connected.
In that previous post, I deplored others who were attempting to destroy or tear down things I believe, have as values or hopes. I asserted that I’m not prepared to do that. Think about the attack, persuasion, alternative view — sure I can do that. Let go of what I hold most dear and true in my life and the world? Nah.
So on reading a few posts this morning, the topic of toxic leadership came up. And lots of learned people, highly intellectual people tearing at schemes, approaches and so on. For example, authentic leadership is a con/fad/myth.
I thought about this and their points were well made about things like “purpose washing” and the cult of what’s supposedly hot based on Jobs/Sinek/Musk or whoever.
And I came to a conclusion based on this and more. Much more.
We seem intent on inflicting OUR REALITY on other people.
And that doesn’t work too well in my view.
Just as “alternative truth” (and I chuckled with rage at the recent “alternative treason” memes on you-know-who) has become a thing, so has the insistence that our reality is what everyone else needs or should be adhered to or installed.
Like we’re gifting people something “oh bless them, here have some of MY reality because, well, that’s THE reality”.
Except of course their reality IS real. To them. Yours may not be. Except to you.
You may look on it as a fantasy but indeed, to them it’s a reality.
And we don’t alway gift people what they want/need/desire/is good for them.
- We can give people small pox but I’m sure they’d rather not have it.
- We can give people our strongest advice, but whose interest is that in?
- We can give people a nudge but they may have been perfectly happy as they were thank you very much.
So why do we seem SO intent on gifting (forcing) our reality on people?
Ah, but the facts! The evidence! The claims from a supremely revered professor or whatever.
Again, I’m not dissing facts or evidence. BUT that some people have chosen to talk about a flat earth again is proof that no matter what evidence you stack up, some people’s reality will override this.
And the sooner we deal with that the better.
I think we start by looking long and hard at the assertion of our reality as the RIGHT one.
As I said, our reality is real because it’s ours.
Is NLP real? To some believers of course it is. Do scientists shake their head and knowing souls on Twitter take it down? Of course they do — it’s something they believe isn’t real. To them it’s a fakery.
Gladwell’s Blink story of the Ancient Greece sculpture always comes to mind. All the science and tests showed it was real, authentic. Someone, just had a hunch that it wasn’t the case and pursued it, and lo and behold additional tests proved that this was indeed a fake.
But to the people who came to see it. Who couldn’t possibly touch it and prod it and take samples, if they FELT (in their souls) it was real, then it was. To them, the stories of the artist, the places this was pride of place in and the feel of someone’s mastery in front of them was real. 3D printed or otherwise.
So is authentic leadership — and all that empathy stuff and the school of thought that you have to be a benevolent sort — real? To many people it is. To others it’s a fakery. A leadership equivalent of being a pantomime dame — dressed up but not “real”.
And because it might not be your reality, doesn’t mean it’s not real though, for others.
For example, do you have to be a leader of a successful enterprise before you can take down the methods of others who lead to prove you’re right?
Because you’ve been led, you have seen how it’s worked and not for you so you have an opinion about the reality of being a leader is to you. So you have every right to comment. You have a reality to share. Your experiences and hopes for leadership in a certain way is real to you and therefore relevant to the discussion in the area.
So can we PLEASE stop inflicting/gifting/forcing our reality on other people.
And especially if you don’t have any alternatives to the thing you’re challenging. For things are often real to us until the realisation that maybe you’ve been conned and then it’s no longer what you believe in.
Then you seek and find a new reality for you.
So if you’ve something that’s very real to counter something you think is incredibly fake, I’d suggest you have a think and activate in the following ways:
- Accept their reality. It may not be real to you but it is to them.
- Acknowledge that in whatever way you can, you respect their beliefs and reality and that you have alternative thoughts, different perspectives and what you believe to be real. (Using the word believe is normally good enough for others to accept your views as not being imposed upon them.)
- Share why that is your reality.
- Invite the other person to consider them against their reasons for their beliefs.
- Thank them for the chance to share your thoughts
- And back away and leave them to conclude what they will whether that’s accepting your reality or continuing or adapting theirs.
Oh and chill the f*** out a bit and focus on what’s really important to you. If that’s changing other people’s realities all the time, good luck with that.