What is happening to us?  Are we becoming addicted to bickering, point-scoring, sniping, and one-upmanship?  IsAre we bickering too much? it only me or do you also notice this?  You cannot switch on the radio, or turn on the TV, without hearing people running others down and denigrating their opinion.  Do you, like me, also get the sense that mainstream media, blogs and many prominent business and government leaders are in heavy defense mode?   Or is it just me?  I would really love to hear your perspective on this.

Constructive Disagreement

It seems to me that in order for us to actualize the greatness that exists in this nation, businesses, government and citizens need to know how to constructively apply diversity of opinion.   Constructive disagreement is good.  This is dialogue and dialogue leads to smarter solutions, creative answers, and incredible breakthroughs.  Dialogue and progress go hand in hand.  There is no dialogue in destructive disagreement, based on point scoring and accompanied by disparaging and pulling others viewpoints to pieces.  There can be no progress in this.  In fact, we are watching how this is polarizing the country and polarizing corporate leaders and their employees.

Sandy Gluckman and Giving Constructive criticsmOf course everyone is entitled to their opinions but this need to be expressed with mutual trust and respect and supported by facts.   Then we can have constructive dialogue

The questions  I keep asking myself as I watch this unpleasant game playing and this denigration of  alternative points of view, are, ‘Why?  Why is this happening now?  Why does this seem to be escalating?  Why do people, particularly leaders, feel the need to resort to this inferior, low-grade form of communication and interaction?  Why can’t they see how destructive this is?  Am I doing this too?’  After all those in the media and at the helm of government and business are highly intelligent, with vast experience of all kinds and many have talented colleagues and advisers.  So how come they cannot say to themselves, as Nelson Mandela did,   ‘This is not helping the country.  This is not helping the organization.  This is not helping me!?’

Here’s what I think is happening.  People, who feel the need to behave and communicate in this destructive way, are people whose egos are out of control.  These are stressful times.  Many of us are anxious and afraid about what the future holds.  And when we act out of fear, we act with ego.    Think about it!   The ego’s modus operandi is to feel threatened and then protect itself by being defensive, arrogant and self-righteous.  This does not allow for open-minded listening.   Only unmanaged ego behaves in this territorial, ridiculous, closed-minded way.  Only ego feels threatened by another point of view.  Only ego feels the need to respond in a way that sends the message … ‘I have the blueprint on everything that is right and real and the way it needs to be.  Your point of view has no worth or merit.  When we are driven by fear and ego, we become incapable of constructive dialogue.  So the answer is for us to manage our egos. 

So what can we do when ego runs rampant?

  1. We can have the courage to look at ourselves and see if our ego is managing our life.
  2. We can learn how to recognize and manage our own ego and discover how to use it constructively.
  3. We can update our relationship skills replacing ego with genuine connection.
  4. And we can enhance our communication skills so that we no longer speak with ego

Keep in mind that this is my point of view, offered with humility.  And as I said earlier, I would love to hear your take on this.

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