Monday, September 17, 2012

Communication; Heroism & Leadership; Leadership VS. Politics; Trial & Error

So, what would a socially awkward person such as myself know about communication? Well, let's just say trial and error can be a good teacher.

True Heroism can't so accurately be described as one form of stereotype, but rather consisting of people from countless stereotypes who do some form of good or at least try to. I also strongly believe that True Leadership often coincides with True Heroism. Both involve working for the best interest of others, and often require many of the same traits, and sometimes similar types of actions. In order to be a Leader, it's not so much making people follow you, as much as it means making people want to follow you, not just because of meaningless things such as image/fame/popularity, but because you're someone who they've grown to know, trust, you've helped them not just be better followers but rather helped them grow to become Leaders themselves. Sometimes Heroism involves sacrifice. In a worst case scenario, it could mean dying to save someone else. In less extreme examples, it could also mean sacrificing our own reputations for the sake of defending another's.

In my mind, I think of the difference between a Community and a Movement. In a Community, I think of people who all communicate, share some form of ideal, and aren't very organized, rather just allowed to be their own individual selves. When one messes up, their fellow Community members are quick to defend them, even if they look bad doing so. In a Movement, I think of people who all come together for a similar goal, and are a bit more organized, and when someone does something wrong, they're quick to outcast that person for the sake of their own reputation. That's why I always tell people that the Real Life Superhero Community is NOT a Movement. It's A Community. It works better that way, leaves more room for individuality, diversity, and acceptance of & friendship with people who aren't exactly like us.

Which one would you tend to trust more and be a part of? Obviously both ideas have their merits, but honestly I'd tend to favor a Community over a Movement. And I'd tend to trust a Leader a LOT more if I knew that they wouldn't turn against me just because I did something wrong or they heard a rumor or whatever. And one thing that's a bad trait in a Leader is when they openly humiliate someone who they were a Leader of. No wise person could ever fully trust a Leader like that. The best kind of Leader will openly defend their people whether their people are right or wrong, but privately be honest with them about the mistakes they make. It's also very important to not come off as accusing, because that's not constructive. That's harmful. Leadership is meant to be constructive, so therefore make yourself useful by doing all that you can to fix problems.

Two aspects of Leadership to put it simply are Teaching and Managing. First, when it comes to teaching, it doesn't matter if anyone else has much prior knowledge. A good teacher is wise enough to challenge their own individual selves to think simple, and teach someone even if it's not easy to do so, even if they're not at the same levels, so to speak. Then, the Managing, involves missions. That often requires finding the right people with the right kind of experience that will help you accomplish your mission. As a Leader, it's good to balance out both the Teacher and Manager aspects, and not to become too much of one and not enough of the other. Simply understand that as a Leader, while you'll have your own style, and that's very important, it's also good to know each person and understand what kind of Teacher and/or Manager will help you best help this person at accomplishing what they need to do, whether it be learning - and/or teaching others themselves, and/or also there's the part that involves them doing what they need to do, whether that's doing the mission themself or them leading others to accomplish what they need to do.

"The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers." -Ralph Nader

Communication is very important when it comes to leadership. And having a level of consistency is vital to communication. Broken Windows Theory. The more you communicate, on both a professional and social level, the better you'll work together, and the more camaraderie there will be.

I'd like to talk about some mistakes I've made in the past, and what I learned from them. I don't want to give out names so I'll just say Person 1 and Person 2.

In the example with Person 1, they did something that I didn't think was so smart. I sent this person a very rude messaging, although at the time saying what I felt needed to be said, and was even very harsh on a personal level.

Person 1 replied back to me, was very friendly and respectful to me, admitting that what they did was wrong, and that I was right. They were also joking about themselves about what I was making fun of them about. I realized that this person was awesome, and it made me feel guilty to being rude to this person. I had instantly gained a ton of respect for this person.

In the example with Person 2, there was a brief meeting and I had made the mistake of unknowingly being a bit rude by being very talkative, simply adding my thoughts on something, and taking up a lot of the time where that person was supposed to be the one doing most of the talking. I do tend to think deep thoughts and feel very strongly about giving my opinions to people. I had no idea that this person also had a lot of stuff that they wanted to talk about too. Then this person, who I'd not really had any previous problems with before, was very rude to me, even after I politely stated that I was wrong, and I apologize, and also want no problems with that person. I spoke to this person privately, who acted like everything was cool. Then this person almost immediately afterward starts openly bashing me. I again stated I didn't want any problems with this person, because I knew I'd made a mistake. Oh well. I admitted it, apologized, time to get over it. That didn't stop this person from openly bashing me. We almost immediately afterwards lost contact. But, after the way the person replied to me even after I tried to fix the problem, it made it a lot harder for me to feel guilty about it. Because a part of me realized: Well, if that person thought so negatively of me, then actually I must've done something right by talking over them. It's unfortunate that I have to think like that about the situation, but it's how I honestly feel about that. That person justified my mistake by bashing me for it, rather than realizing that if they were respectful to me, that it would've made me realize that I'd made a mistake, and then possibly do what I could to make up for it.

In the Bible, in Luke 6:37 it says:
"Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven."

In Matthew 7:1-5 it says:
"7 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye."

Do not be afraid to become Leaders. Do not think as if being a Leader means being better than everyone else. Because in True Leadership, a true leader must humble themselves, to serve those that they wish to lead. Leadership isn't about being someone. It's about doing something. How can you do something constructive? How can you make the world a better place? What sort of problems do you see? Be it with the world, or even something as simple as a problem existing in your circle of friends. It's never good to be a neutral party when it comes to mutual friends having a dispute. I do consider it to be a selfish trait, because if you care about these people, do not put yourself above their problems. Put their problems above your self and seek to do your part to fix it.

"People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." -John C. Maxwell

Friendship is also a vital aspect of both Heroism and Leadership. Be a friend to those in need. It's more heroic to be hated just for being someone's friend, than it is to be loved just for being someone's enemy. Please do not falsely link popularity with heroism. Yes it's possible for a hero to be popular. But that's just simply a bonus, not an ingredient. Sometimes you'll be hated for doing the right thing. And sometimes you can be loved for doing the wrong thing.

I'm very deeply interested in and fascinated with politics. I don't know everything about politics. But, there are things I do know and read about. Like who the politicians and candidates are, what their experience is, and what their ideas are, and what they hope to accomplish and who they want to be. And one thing I've observed from politicians is that their success is based on building their own reputation by destroying the reputation of another person. Fake smiles, and making someone else look bad and ruin their life the best you can while smiling in front of the crowds, and seeing what you can gain from it. And oh don't even get me started on primary elections. Spending months bashing another person about why they're not good enough to be in that office, but then when that person wins the nomination, they spend a few months explaining why voting for that person is the most important thing in the world. Or if they're the winner themselves, they honestly expect the genuine support of the people they've bashed before. My advice is to speak from the heart, and stick to what you believe. Do not let opportunity alter your beliefs.

There are some Politicians who are known for their heroism. George Washington and his heroism in the Revolution. Abraham Lincoln and his heroism during the Civil War. Ronald Reagan decades before his Presidency saved 77 lives in 7 years he spent as a Lifeguard. I hope for a day when a lot more Politicians learn to become more heroic to the level of our U.S. Military, Doctors, Police, Firefighters, anyone whose job involves protecting people and saving lives. I envision a day when politicians being honest and genuine heroes becomes as mainstream as those other occupations I listed. And while tragedies do tend to bring people together, the truth is that it shouldn't require one just to bring people together.

Sometimes bad leaders are the most successful kind. 2 reasons:

1- Just as the best teachers can teach their students to be even smarter than themselves, the wisest and most genuine leaders hope for those they lead to grow to become even better leaders than even themselves. Although the first Leader in reference will not always be remembered for being as skilled or accomplished, they will be remembered as being an important part of the story of life, helping mold future generations of leaders to be even better than their own selves. The idea is to promote continuous progress.

2- Sometimes, bad leaders teach their followers how NOT to act, when those followers become leaders themselves. And that they'll make mistakes that will more resonate in their mind and in their emotions, to be that much more passionate about not wanting to make those same mistakes themselves.

Good, effective leadership is really a balance of strategy and ethics. Strategy is knowing what to do and how to do it effectively. Ethics is knowing what is alright to do and what isn't alright to do. Now with that being said, the rest is up to you, the reader, to take advantage of all that I'm willing to teach. Seek to become smarter than me. Seek to do more than I've done. Seek to be better than me, while at the same time not pretending to be perfect, because none of us are perfect but we all still want to do good in the world. And then train the next generation to be better than you, more effective than you, and so on.