Leadership

Leadership Should Be Messy

Leaders have historically been portrayed as polished to perfection. As a result, we sometimes unfairly expect leaders to be superhuman. We ridicule and shame when they make mistakes and reel in disappointment when they don’t live up to our ideals.  

That concept of leadership is dying. People are increasingly recognizing leadership as complex, emergent, and shared regardless of formal position. In other words, messy.

Some people resist messiness. To them, such disorder reflects a lack of discipline, healthy habits, and quantifiable results. It goes against how we have been programmed for decades. Others, like me, are open to messiness because it creates possibilities for challenge, engagement, and transformational results.

So unstraighten the surely minimal piles on your desk, misspeak and offend someone, let someone make a mistake, and try something that seems daunting if not impossible. Heck, throw up a bunch of papers in the air. Give up the seductive illusion of control. Let go and see what happens.

Social and Political Theory

Moving Up

When we move left and right in our political thought, we saw through the foundation of our thoughts. Rather than moving left or right, I’m moving upward and outward. I am expanding my understanding rather than limiting myself to a linear, one-dimensional perception of political complexities.

If we are strong in our core and have strong political and other beliefs as many of us do, we can maintain our position while expanding our view. We may not shift in what we believe, but we can increase our field of vision and understanding by allowing alternative ideas to enter our frame.

Social and Political Theory

Rice

Rice is a metaphor for the coexistence of simplicity and complexity. It seems simple on the surface. White or brown, short, medium, or long grain…these are our limited options. It is a basic food, a side dish, an afterthought.

But if we look closer and pay attention, we will find that there are many varieties of rice with intricate aromas, distinctive flavors, and beautiful colors. Red, black, organic, wild, jasmine, starchy, medicinal…there are over 40,000 varieties of rice.

Rice is paradoxical. It is taken for granted, yet it is essential. It is simple, yet it is complex. It is easy to prepare, yet difficult to grow. Rice is life.