Standing in the Heat

When a leader holds a minority view, they must learn to stand in the heat of the majority’s response.

Stating your opinions in front of a watching world is a not neutral activity.  Social Media has made this easy but not safe.  Unless you live in an echo chamber, the moment you express yourself to the public, your morals, principles, politics, values, beliefs, and even fashion sense will all be challenged. 

Leaders need to share their worldview.  Great leaders do this while also listening to the worldviews of others.  Standing in the heat of public opinion is not easy.

To manage the heat, great leaders have taken these lessons to heart.

  1. Everyone has opinions.  When you seek to understand, others might be more willing to hear you out. (Might.)
  2. Humans are hypersensitive to social threat.  When we perceive that we are being threatened, our abilities to collaborate, communicate, create, concentrate, choose, and manage our emotions are degraded.  This is normal. 
  3. There is a difference between objective and subjective experience.  Objectivity is the factual part of experience – what “actually happened.”  Subjectivity is what we perceive and feel about what we assume happened.  These are often in conflict.  This too is normal.
  4. We are unconsciously biased in ways that make our judgement fast but faulty.  Which means I may not know that I am biased as I am trying to be fair.  This is weird but normal.
  5. The person people think about the most is themselves.   Just because someone is mad at me does not necessarily mean I did anything to earn their wrath.  Just because someone loves me does not necessarily mean I did anything to merit their loyalty.
  6. Majorities get it wrong.  Even if a lot of people believe something that does not make it factual.  I may feel justified and not be.  I may not feel guilty and still be.  This also applies to Minorities such as the Powerful, Famous, or Wealthy.  But it is not exclusive to the “winners.”  Oppressed, Ostracized and Overlooked are often in error as well.
  7. Being offended is a choice.  Sometimes it is the correct choice. But, no matter what you say, chances are someone will choose to take offense. How someone else may feel should not silence your voice.
  8. Feelings often lie.   I may feel guilty and not be.  Sometimes shame is earned.  My feelings are subjective.  (See #3 above)  Even if I feel bad when people don’t agree with me, like me, etc.  That doesn’t mean I am wrong or unlikeable.

If you have an opinion about this post please share.  (Just be prepared for the heat!)

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