In the recent weeks, significant spectacles of idealism, groupthink and group-splitting were on Indian television screens. I continue to be amazed at the bandwidth of variety that Indian populations provide through sheer volume might, than by variety per se. In India, volume drives variety, rather than variety grooming volume. This may underpin economics, newspaper readership and even quotidian habits as beverage preferences and consumerism of personal effects. But I will not stray into that kind of variety here. Let me stick to my knitting and get to the phenomena that groups precipitate.
Firstly, in a patriarchically dominant society, India offers mere fringe benefits to the female of the species. This is a marked poverty of species integrity in affairs social. With women so under-represented, the male gender develops a surreal sense of capability, and a false boundary of the power that they wield. It is a breeding ground for male overoptimism, a cognitive bias, acknowledged by neuro scientists and studied by philosophers of our age. This male myopia on matters social runs unchallenged as yet, and male species members who exhibit the wholesomeness, inclusiveness and sensitivity that the female gender represents better are mistaken for people with rival intent than as more evolved of the species.
Secondly, the distinction between leader evolution and leadership evolution is as yet glossed over as a parenthetic glitch or a syntax of no import to our thought structures. Leaders see their own boundaries in ways that set themselves as distinct and in many cases above the crowd that glorifies them. The leader evolves only to the extent therefore that their personal imaginations can feed on their followers’ uncritical dependence on their notions of world order or style and substance of change in order. Leadership evolution is about peer process of a leadership of equals, where vulnerability of the personal boundary paradoxically strengthens the individual and the group to which the individual belongs. This is easy to miss, given the oversocialised ideal of combative leaders in the cloak of valiant generals whose troops need succor from the top of the order. The phase transition to team based leadership process is hard intention and soft movement in inter-personal spaces where idealism wrestles with the time required for the groups members to express both challenge and growth. Authenticity apart, there is a giving of self to other selves that equips its members with a disarming humility in whose wake, a culture of learning unfolds.
Thirdly, radical transparency as we’re now given to makes for a new dimension to survival instincts. Each of us is like fish in a fishbowl. We allow ourselves to be seen, and it is the bowl that grows to accommodate us through our growth. The size of our bowl is the reach of our influence. Our survival is to be distinguished most in moments of fleeting intentions, where momentary one-upmanship is the amygdala hijack in which our fears bind us in regressive exclusion.Goals that enrich purposeful social causes liberate us from the irrationality and the biased projection of our inner gremlins.
Goals that approximate our life’s purpose calm us in adversity and reframe the crisis in which an amazing paradox resides. Slow is fast in matters of group development.The more time spent on understanding differences and the higher significance these differences represent, the more engaging the process of inclusion and the deeper the engagement to which members feel obliged. In other words, those leaders who feel they’re the survivors of the rat-race, will do just that – survive. Speed in execution can only occur when design for implementation is labored in mindful consideration of those to be impacted.
To thrive, leaders must work with other leaders, as no social cause can exclude or dismiss by convenient norms of exclusivity. A group of leadership equals beat drums that march like locusts in a swarm – united not by a king or queen, but by a purpose to which commitment is honed.
Is your leader a survivor floating around, or a willing being to thrive with you? What model of leadership does this reading inspire you towards?