Posts Tagged ‘social media’

Metrics instead of content have become the thingThere was a time – a long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away it seems – when the quality and expertise of information mattered. Even on the internet. 

In its early days when it became more widely available to the public (mid-to-late 1990’s), the internet was about research, facts, discussions, and sometimes even vehement disagreements (the infamous “flame wars”), but there was an abundance of quality and expert information to teach, to learn from, and to share. (more…)

Dr. Ned M. RossThe first – and one of less than a handful of people whose lives have intersected with mine in which I’ve seen an unwavering commitment to quintessential leadership – quintessential leader in my life was my dad, Dr. Ned Moses Ross. He modeled quintessential leadership  in everything he was, he did, and he said. (more…)

An example of ubiquity and mass appeal in Facebook's French flag app after the November 13, 2015 terrorist attacksAfter the terrorist attack in Paris on November 13, 2015, Facebook immediately came out with an app that let its users superimpose the French flag over their profile pictures to ostensibly show solidarity with France and Paris. (more…)

The Unquintessential Leadership Trait of Character AssassinationWe humans have a lot of things, good and bad, in common despite all the things that make us different and unique individually from each other. Today we’re going to discuss one of the prevailing bad things we have in common, which is a hallmark trait of unquintessential leadership.

That unquintessential leadership trait is character assassination. But this unquintessential leadership trait is not isolated just to those who routinely assassinate the character of other people. It extends to those people who listen to the character assassination, who believe the character assassination without verification or proof, who perpetuate the character assassination, and who applaud the person who is assassinating another person’s character.

In other words, character assassination can be both active and passive. The active forms are initiating and perpetuating the assassination of someone else’s character. The passive forms are listening to, believing without verifying or proving, and applauding the assassination of someone else’s character.

Although any assassination of another person’s character is unquintessential leadership in action, the most hurtful types of character assassination are those that are perpetrated by, listened to, believed by, perpetuated by, and applauded by people who are supposedly friends of the people whose character is being assassinated.

Character Assassination is an Unquintessential Leadership TraitWith friends like these, who needs enemies?

We humans innately have a tendency to talk too much. In that eagerness to speak, we also tend to talk without thinking and say things in the heat of emotional upheaval. In these cases, we usually don’t mean the things we say and, if we’re quintessential leaders, as soon as we realize we’ve hurt or offended someone, we apologize and make amends.

Character assassination, on the other hand, is a calculated and deliberate campaign of words composed of outright lies, half-truths, manipulation, insinuation, and instigation that has the sole intent of destroying not only the reputation and integrity of another person, but the person themselves. Anyone who participates in this actively or passively is showing themselves to be unquintessential leaders.

With the advent of social media, character assassination has become prolific, public, egregious, and normal.

It’s as though we humans check our brains, turn off all the filters of common decency, forget the Golden Rule entirely, and embrace the darkest parts of our human nature at the door of social media.

Although the methodologies differ – and are sometimes so subtle, they are difficult to recognize  – the intent and the result is the same.

And, more often than not, the people whose character is being assassinated don’t even know that it’s happened or is happening. Others just suddenly disappear out of their lives or consciously avoid them altogether and the people who’ve been the victims of character assassination have no idea why. 

So what does the perpetration of character assassination look like in practice? 

  1. Keeping the wording vague, but malicious, and keeping the victim anonymous, the perpetrator makes sure everybody knows how “awful” the maligned person is with cutting words and harsh condemnations that indicate that the perpetrator can perfectly read thoughts, attitudes, intents, motives, actions, and hearts (if we really believe that we can do this with other people, then we are unquintessential leaders, because we can’t).
  2. Baiting people by providing tantalizing and derogatory information about someone else.
  3. Twisting words to make it look like someone said or intended something they did not.
  4. Taking innocent actions – with no knowledge of what is actually going on – and making them seem sinister, salacious, or wrong.
  5. Gossiping and spreading rumors about someone.
  6. Tearing someone down to others.

The roots of why unquintessential leaders initiate and participate in character assassation are two-fold and speak to the character of the initiators and participators. 

The first root is jealousy. Generally, people who are victims of character assassination are persistent, genuine, proactive and original, and doing everything in their power to make positive movement forward. Usually, they’re doing it steadily and quietly, but the impact is readily apparent. 

Narcissism is a Root of Character AssassinationUnquintessential leaders are generally imitators and copiers. They make a lot of noise and constantly scream “Hey, look at me!” but the noise is unoriginal, often hackneyed, and always copied from someone else. Therefore, they are jealous of people who don’t imitate and don’t copy other people, but actually do the hard work of research, innovation, and original creation.

For unquintessential leaders, the only way to quiet their jealousy and to hope to minimize or eliminate the impact of a person’s honesty, authenticity, originality and forward motion is to assassinate that person’s character.

The second root of character assassination is a darker  aspect of human nature that unquintessential leaders give in to routinely and that is finding a perverse joy and fulfillment in either watching somebody destroyed or destroying that person themselves. 

There seems to be an ugly pride and smugness among unquintessential leaders when they’ve assassinated someone’s character. Ironically, unquintessential leaders use these opportunities to talk about how awesome, how great, and how wonderful they are, sometimes in comparison to the person whose character they have assassinated, but, more often than not, because for unquintessential leaders it’s all about me, they simply sing their own praises and invite everybody else to join in their song.

And now, my friends, it’s that time when we all honestly look into our own mirrors and examine ourselves to see if we have the unquintessential leadership trait of character assassination in our lives.

Do we routinely assassinate the character of other people:

  1. Via social media or other means of communication, by stating or insinuating that those people are deficient and defective in character, attitude, motive, action, mindset, etc.? (It’s important to remember that those people aren’t there to defend themselves – and likely don’t even know what’s being said about them – nor are they able set the record straight so what we’re saying is one-sided and never the whole story.)
  2. By spreading rumors and gossip about them?
  3. By listening to a perpetrator’s character assassination of them?
  4. By believing without verification or proof a perpetrator’s character assassination of them?
  5. By perpetuating a perpetrator’s character assassination of them?
  6. By applauding a perpetrator’s character assassination of them?

I can only answer these questions for myself by honestly looking in the mirror of my own life. You can only answer them for yourself by doing the same.

How are we doing?

 

 

 

Dr. Ned M. RossThe first – and one of less than a handful of people whose lives have intersected with mine in which I’ve seen an unwavering commitment to quintessential leadership – quintessential leader in my life was my dad. He modeled quintessential leadership  in everything he was, he did, and he said.

When I was younger, I didn’t appreciate it as much. Now that I’m older, I appreciate it – and my dad – more and more with each passing day.

My dad’s been gone almost 17 years, but his example and the lessons he taught me about what quintessential leadership is and what it looks like in practice have taken root over the years, with those roots getting more deeply entrenched and stronger with time and practice, and have now begun to blossom and bear fruit in my own life.

I wish my dad were here to see that, although it was hard to tell then, I watched, I listened, I absorbed, and I took everything to heart. His experience, his counsel, and his wisdom have permeated my mind, my conscience, and my life as I’ve tried them, tested them, proved them, and found them to be true.

The older me would tell my dad that he was right (the younger me had a hard time admitting that anyone else was ever right) and would never stop expressing my gratitude and my love. That, for my dad, will have to wait for another day, one that I am looking forward to very much.

In the meantime, though, I have the opportunity to pass the lessons on in developing other quintessential leaders. I don’t claim to have mastered them nor to execute them perfectly. But that is a front-of-my-mind-always goal and nothing I think, say, or do isn’t within the context of that goal. That, my friends, is the first step to becoming a quintessential leader.

One of the ongoing lessons my dad taught me was to show respect to everybody. In my words. In my actions. In every area of my life. I can still hear him saying “Be nice to everyone you meet on the way up, because you’ll meet the same people on your way back down.”

Respect can be a complicated thing for us as people and us as quintessential leaders. It shouldn’t be, as I hope to show, since respect is an outward manifestation of our understanding of the brotherhood of humanity and of the integrity of our character, but it can be until we understand the essence of what respect is.

Respect is not tied to our likes or dislikes, our feelings and emotions, nor to what we agree or disagree about.

Instead, it is an acknowledgement that each of us has the exact same value in terms of our humanness – at our most basic structure, each of us is just a little dirt and a little water mixed together, and when death, the great equalizer, comes that is what we all return to, minus the water – and in terms of our purpose and our potential.

Most of the people in leadership positions today lack respect for anyone else. They may show favoritism to their lackeys as long as they support and help them and push their agendas – which are power, greed, and control – but favoritism is fickle and disappears when lackeys are inconvenient or no longer useful.

Respect is not fickle, nor is it tied to what someone else can do for us. That is simply beyond the grasp of most people in leadership positions today. 

respect quintessential leaderDisrespect is in vogue. It is wrapped up in the forms of tearing others down, name-calling, and put downs. It is characterized by people exposing the “weaknesses” of others, ripping those weaknesses – and those people – to shreds, and then the disrespecters exalting themselves to show how superior and better they are than the lowlifes they just called out.

As shameful and as disgusting as this conduct is, those who do it have no shame and no remorse. In fact, with social media, they’ve found a bigger and more public venue in which to flagrantly disrespect other people. As a result, disrespect has become the norm, while respect is becoming harder and harder to find.

A recent example of this pervasive disrespect – and this is a pattern of behavior with this individual – from someone in a leadership position, but who is not a quintessential leader, brought this back to the forefront of my thinking.

Here are a few excerpts from an email this person in a leadership position wrote to somebody he disagrees with:

“…that you remain a congenital liar incapable of telling the truth.”

“You seem to fail to grasp that you were used as a useful idiot…”

“…you were too stupid to realize that you were being used.”

“I have no time for lying fools whose mission in life is to slander and spread division…”

“Take your vomit somewhere else and don’t waste my time.”

I disagree, for different reasons, with almost all that the recipient of this email says as well. However, I would never communicate with this person – or anyone else on the planet – in a disrespectful manner. The person in a leadership position, though, had absolutely no qualms about it. 

As quintessential leaders, each of is responsible for showing respect to everyone and to modeling that to the quintessential leaders we are developing. Since that’s our responsibility, what does it look like in practice?

Not everybody is going to like everybody else. That’s a fact of life.

My dad, I think, came the closest of anybody I know to liking almost every person he ever met. I can think of two people I know for a fact that he didn’t like, and there may be two others, but he never said one way or the other.

I, on the other hand, have a longer list of people that I don’t care for and would rather not have to be within 300 miles of on any given day (and, frankly, the same is probably true for them with me). It’s not that they are awful people or bad people, but our personalities and temperaments are so different that we just don’t sync up on any kind of tangible level.

Given the choice to spend any kind of extended time with them or face a firing squad, I’d most likely choose the firing squad. Both are excruciating, but one is fast and one-and-done. Social pain is difficult for me, so quick elimination – my own – is generally my preference.

However, whether we are more like my dad and there’s almost nobody we don’t like or we’re more like me and have a pricklier personality and temperament, we still are responsible for being respectful to everybody.

We all have emotions and feelings and sometimes we get hurt, we get angry, and we get sad at what other people do to us and say to us. Disrespecting them – revenge and getting even – is our default response tendency as humans.

But quintessential leaders never forget their responsibility to be respectful and to be reminded that we have also hurt, angered, and saddened other people in our travels through life, and we’ve been shown respect, along with mercy and restraint, at times along the way when we didn’t deserve it. We pay that forward. It’s that simple.

As human beings, it’s often easier to find things we disagree on than things we agree on. That, too, is part of life. Sometimes those disagreements are deep and intense. Sometimes they are so fundamental, moral-wise, character-wise, and principle-wise, that they force a relationship between or among people to break – at least for the rest of this temporary existence of physical life.

However, no matter how strong the disagreement, even to the point of breaking relationships for the remainder of our physical lives, we may have with other people, we are still responsible for showing them respect.

I suspect that when this life is done and the next iteration occurs that we’ll all find that all the things we thought we knew were in fact next to nothing (and that little splinter where there was a minute bit of understanding and insight was more wrong than right) and all that we argued over, disagreed over, and fought over was basically a waste of time because none of us got it right.

If that’s the case, then our responsibility for being respectful to everybody else – even if they disrespect us – should weigh even heavier in who and what we as quintessential leaders are.

So how do quintessential leaders show respect? What does it look like?

  • Never personally attack anyone else. You can disagree and be respectful. You can dislike and be respectful. You can experience negative emotions and feelings and be respectful. You can break a relationship, because it’s the healthiest thing to do, and be respectful.
  • Never tear anyone else down. You are not anyone’s judge and jury. You have never value purpose potential equals respectwalked in their shoes, so whatever you think you know about them is not even close to their whole story. Show mercy.
  • Never badmouth anyone to anyone else. This an emotional response to anger, frustration, and impatience with other people. It says a whole lot more about you as a person than it does about the person you’re badmouthing.
  • Silence can be a form of respect, especially when it comes to anyone that we are hard-pressed to find or see anything positive about. Just because we don’t see it or haven’t found it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Silence ensures that we recognize that everyone has value, even if we don’t know personally what it is. It is often the better part of wisdom.

What would you add to this list of what respect looks like?

More importantly, how are we doing?