Leading in a hyper-partisan world

When there is a drumbeat all around us that indicates that every person, young or old, healthy or unhealthy, politically interested or uninterested, etc. needs to decide on which side they stand, it gets harder to lead. If, as I do, leaders accept the definition of “inspiring others to collaborate towards a common goal” as leadership, how does one do it when the polarization is becoming a defining part of life?

How bad have things gotten already?

The image above is from a recent study that researched the partisan behavior or twitter users based on their posts and retweets. Here is the link:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317947723_Emotion_shapes_the_diffusion_of_moralized_content_in_social_networks

The media of any kind and on all sides is either presenting the partisan positions, reflecting and commenting on them, or turning them into comedy. It’s almost as if nothing else is happening in the world anymore.

How far things have evolved is describes, among many other places, here:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/15/upshot/how-we-became-bitter-political-enemies.html

For leaders on all levels, I suggest to focus on the purpose of the organization, department, division, or whatever the organizational element might be. Why are we doing what we are doing and what’s the purpose? From that should come an evaluation of alignment of the leaders, managers and other members of a team with that purpose. If that’s the case you can go to goal setting and subsequently incremental goals, tasks, milestones, etc.

With the amount of negativity and polarization surrounding all of us all the time, more emphasis, time and effort should be spent by leaders on all levels to celebrate wins and achievements. Be generous with praise. A world outside that is increasingly divided and polarized requires organizational leaders to become a counterbalance, providing positivity and motivation to move forward and achieve desirable goals.

Let me know what you are doing to inspire, motivate, celebrate, praise and encourage.

 

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