New Year Admonitions For Politicians: Five Tips From Beyond Drama
I don’t now if I’m excited or scared. Or both. One thing is for sure, there’s a political upheaval going on in the United States. Although I have concerns about some of the candidates running for president, my gravest fear is around the polarized ideology, adversarial politics, and dysfunctional relationships everywhere you look.
Drama abounds. How can we possibly tackle issues like world food supply, terrorism, or climate change when our politicians are more concerned with self-justification and gamesmanship?
Beyond Drama: Transcending Energy Vampires, was written for anyone working within relationships to get something done and is plagued by the energy vampires of drama. That applies to politicians.
Read the book if you want to. Better yet, send a copy to every leader and politician you know. For now, here are my top five bits of advice for politicians, taken from the pages of Beyond Drama.
In Drama people seek exception. In Compassion people seek connection.
This year, focus more energy on finding connections, commonalities, and points of agreement. There is too much polarization in our world, too much focus on how we are different and what’s wrong with the other point of view.
Drama turns conflict into destruction. Compassion turns conflict into opportunity.
Look no further than the U.S. presidential campaign to see how drama can turn conflict into destruction. Trump is a prime example. Any time someone disagrees, confronts him, or attempts to engage in conflict with him, he immediately seeks to discredit, dismiss, or destroy. Narcissism is bad enough. Adversarial narcissism is simply dangerous. This year, engage in conflict with an “I’m OK – You’re OK” attitude and see what new creation you can help facilitate.
The need to feel justified, to believe that “I was right,” is one of the strongest human urges.
Self-justification is a primary driver of extremism and violence. The goal is not to be right. The goal is to be effective. This year, seek solutions that bring people together around common good rather then justifying and defending your position.
My truth isn’t the same as THE truth.
You aren’t God. Deal with it. It’s OK to have an opinion as long as you are clear that it’s only your perspective, your conviction, your assessment. Ironically, the moment you confound THE truth with your truth is the same moment you lose focus on the bigger picture. This year, own up to your truth, keep it in perspective, and let THE truth take care of itself.
When communication becomes competitive, everyone looses.
Communication is not a competition to be won. Communication is about hearing and being heard, seeing and being seen, finding workable solutions. This year, seek to understand as much as to be understood. Seek to affirm others as much as being affirmed by them.
I’d like to see a debate where each candidate had to answer to these five issues.
- Describe your track record of seeking connection instead of seeking exception.
- Show how you’ve used positive conflict to create something useful.
- Tell us about the times you’ve put the greater good ahead of your need to be right.
- Describe the limitations of your truth.
- Show evidence of your ability to communicate in ways that people feel heard, understood, and affirmed.
I doubt any major news network would host this debate since it wouldn’t stoke the entertainment fire of drama. How would your favorite candidate fare?
This year let your voice be heard. Vote for candidates who reject drama and seek compassionate accountability instead.
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