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Trump is a metaphor for a lack of control and acceptance – where is the wisdom in this result to be found?

man drawing business strategyThe political events of the last week have brought the topic of decision making to the forefront.  Many people are focused on the win / lose elements of the decision that has been made. Unfortunately there continues to be very public discourse on the failings of others to make “wise decisions”.

I fail to see the wisdom in using insults as a means of influencing the constituency to join the crowd. The use of gender, race, ethnic etc stereotypes are wrong. There is no place for them in wise decision making, and as such should be dissuaded from use by leaders of all groups rather than utilised by them from some distorted moral high ground that somehow now justifies the behaviour.

The public and social leadership examples displayed over the last couple of days through social and conventional media have been no better than the person they seek to demonise. Fighting fire with fire may make us all feel good. Getting people just like ourselves to say you are right only feeds the established group, reinforcing belief without expanding understanding of alternatives. My way or the Highway is one way of describing it.

Insults no matter who they come from and for whatever reason alienate rather than bring together, polarise thought rather than create dialogue, erode trust rather than strengthen relationships, perpetuate stereotypes rather than foster acceptance of diversity.

Its about maintaining a sense of control

What is being missed by the main stream conversation is the deeper issue that exists for communities of all descriptions. People need to have a sense of control and an ability to make decisions in their lives to feel motivated and engaged.

Charles Duhigg notes in his book Faster, Smarter, Better – the secrets of being productive in life and business,   “The first step in creating drive is giving people opportunities to make choices that provide them with a sense of autonomy and self-determination. Motivation is triggered by making choices that demonstrate to ourselves that we are in control. It’s the feeling of self-determination that gets us going”.

This statement is being played out locally and globally. We hearing more  and more that people are feeling disenfranchised from their friends, the workplace, the community, the politicians, and the list goes on. Conversely there are many stories about communities that are thriving amongst the weeds of disenchantment. The main difference here is the thriving groups are utilising their diverse strengths and are maintaining a sense of the control over their choices.

Centralise systems fail to meet local needs and create ambivalence

Centralised systems of the work (better known a bureaucracy) which tend to employ many people, but restrict decision making to the very few senior people create disengagement. Political systems that do not respond to local needs and force the representatives (ie MP’s) to tow the party line stop listening and create disenchantment. They create a message of “Trust Us” but then fail to deliver. The lack of control and choice created by these systems create ambivalence, disenchantment and agitation. Ironically not only do they demotivate and annoy people, they also deskill us.

By taking decisions away from people, they lose the opportunity to take risks; They lose the opportunity to be responsible; They lose the opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

The wisdom in the decision to elect Trump as President, or more locally elect fringe parties such as the Greens, One Nation etc is to understand the loss of the control and motivation to thrive that people are feeling.  Our ideological bias (whatever they are) blinds our ability to value the diversity that enriches our decision making and communities.  The wisdom is to make a decision ourselves not to insult from the moral high ground but to climb down that mountain and spend time understanding how enabling people to make a choice and have control of their lives can change our world.

Simon Sinek in his book “Leaders Eat Last” sums it up.

  • Leadership is not a rank
  • Leadership is not a position
  • Leadership is a decision

It is a decision to willingly sacrifice your goals to ensure others can feel safe and prosper.

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