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Leaders Need To Live Within The Same Reality

Undark, a non-profit digital magazine focusing on the intersection between science and society, has an interesting article entitled The Science That Explains Trump’s Grip on White Males. It reinforces what I mentioned the other day about how people with Socialized Minds will defend any threat to their perceived reality (through the “lens” of their worldview), thus avoiding change at any cost, as noted in the first quote below.

Different groups can perceive the same risk through vastly different lenses. And in the case of White men, it is often a lens that seeks to preserve institutionalized cultural identity and societal status.

What the science seems to clearly suggest — and what people like Paul Slovic have observed for decades — is that society’s multiple overlapping crises can’t be solved when governing bodies composed primarily of White men, who are outliers in terms of risk perception, are tasked with making decisions about risks for the entire population. The individuals who hold power over decisions about what’s risky and what’s not should be representative of the community at large, and those individuals should have the agency and authority to be part of the final decision-making.

Now the second quote from the article above really encapsulates what’s wrong with our society on so many levels because I’m sure everyone has experienced this frustration in their work at one time or another. For example, I know my wife, as a teacher, experiences this at least a few times each year, when people making decisions regarding educational policy have zero actual experience teaching or, at the very least, have recent teaching experience.

This has to change. Leadership needs to be about bringing people together which means leaders need to have broader lenses and perspectives that help them empathize and understand the needs of the people they are supposedly trying to help because they have the wisdom of actually experiencing the same frustrations themselves. Yet continually we see so many leaders failing and people not trusting them because they are often completely detached from the same realities as the people they’re supposed to be leading.

Yet how can these so called “leaders” actually embrace change and initiate transformative action, if they are detached from the same reality as those they’re supposed to be leading and thus they can’t even perceive the same issues as them?

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