Notes from Orbiting the Giant Hairball
When you come into an organization, you bring with you an arcane potency, which stems, in part, from your uniqueness. That, in turn, is rooted in a complex mosaic of personal history that is original, unfathomable, inimitable. There has never been anyone quiet like you, and there never will be. Consequently, you can contribute something to an endeavor that nobody else can. There is a power in your uniqueness - an inexplicable, unmeasurable, power …
But if you are hypnotized by an organization’s culture, you become separated from your personal magic and cannot tap it to help achieve the goals of the organization. In losing connection with your one-of-a-kind magic, you are reduced to nothing more than part of the headcount.
So: Sky diving without a parachute is suicide. Total freedom is suicide. And: Holing up in a closet is vegetating. Total security is vegetating.
Somewhere between the ridiculous extremes of vegetating and suicide is the right place for each of us. I’ve got a feeling that right place is different for you and for me.
Well, when one of us finds the courage to risk to grow - to leave the status quo of the Hairball - that can be pretty threatening for the rest of us to witness. The threat is that we, too, might be expected to grow. And sometimes growing can be a frightening and painful experience. IF we feel we have already suffered too much pain or are already frozen by a sense of menace, we are liable to do anything we can to avoid the pain or threat that often comes with the experience of growth. So we contrive to stop others in our loop who display a desire and willingness to grow. One way to stop them is to shame them. But because we don’t want to admit to others or ourselves that we are trying to stop growth, we disguise our shaming as teasing - ‘all in a spirit of good fun.’ (‘Whatsa matter, can’tcha take a little joke?’ - more shaming) … Stop risking! Stop growing! Stop sharing! Stop living! Because when you finally stop living, you will no longer be a threat to me.
Any time a bureaucrat (i.e., a custodian of a system) stands between you and something you need or want, your challenge is to help that bureaucrat discover a means, harmonious with the system, to meet your need.
If you are in a position of power and want to lead well, remember: Allow those you lead … to lead … when they feel the need. All will benefit.