Polarize, Politics & People: How to Galvanize Change – Leadership Lessons from the US Election
Something extraordinary happened as we watched news coverage and followed social media feeds. Donald Trump was appointed President-Elect of the United States of America.
We watched from our lounge rooms and dining tables and wondered what does this mean for our American friends and colleagues, and businesses in the Asia-Pacific and global community? Can we galvanize people into positive action when change evokes a raft of emotion?
These things are true:
- Government – The result is what it is and Leaders from every party must rally together to promote unity
- Business – Leaders must become very clear on the objectives, agility, skillset and culture of our organisations
- Individuals – Your personal leadership and the values you stand on can still be clear and expressed, with consideration to drawing people together not intimidating them to abandon their beliefs or values, but rather to seek unity and reconciliation for the greater good.
Former Australian New South Wales Premier Bob Carr, states that Trump won the election based on his slogans, clarifying, “It’s one thing to activate the grievances of people who had been badly treated and another to show how your sloganeering can turn things around…This [Mr Trump’s] is a different [type of] leadership.”
Our house was divided. I was not in favour of Trump. Let me state I don’t know the man. I am basing my opinion purely on media representation and I suspect many others have done the same. My husband did not agree with much of Trump’s behaviour, but he did like how Trump shook up the status quo and mobilised people to talk about the elections and be active in the debates.
As a Leadership Consultant and Business Strategist I wanted to look at the new President-Elect and the conceding nominee, objectively as the news broke.
That’s what we need to do as Leaders – we examine ‘change’ in light of what it means for us in the everyday function of our lives. We must deal with what we know and cast down those things which may be fear-based and never eventuate, while seeking wisdom and taking charge of our business.
Change is both thrilling and nerve racking. What matters is people made a choice. Not everyone likes the choice. Someone’s favourite is another one’s rocky road to uncertainty, or a pathway to delightful surprises!
Now You’ve Polarized, Galvanize Them
Donald Trump polarized his audience and so did Hilary Clinton. They engendered support from different corners.
In business, Marketers understand the sheer power and momentum achieved through polarizing your audience and drilling down into your niche. It is by no accident that President-Elect Donald Trump is describing his achievement as a movement. There has been a ground swell of support for change within the the hierarchy of the Untied States Government.
In a world of vanilla and beige, the world is crying out for Leadership and strong, decisive action. The ripple is felt around the world and in organisations, companies and business. Even in the defeat of unmet expectations and uncertainty, there can be shades of purple – of dignity and and regard, without chaos and tantrums.
Leading change is for the brave and the bold, not the faint hearted. Politics happens in governments and all kinds of workplaces.
Change that is either positive or negative can still have an impact on people leading to short term or sustained disappointment, grief and loss. The cost to families, community and business is staggering if not understood, brought out into the open, discussed and dealt with.
In this climate of significant change, understanding the cycle of change gives a sense of empowerment to people who feel power has been taken from them and demonstrates there is a way through it, even if contradictions occur and fear knocks at the door.
It’s up to you as a Leader, to lead them through it, encourage self-leadership and positively demand participation as co-authors of the future, not victims of decisions they didn’t like.
Effective Leaders Shift from Polarizing to Galvanizing Unity in the Workplace & Community
Stop Doing this
- stop focusing on labelling and segregating your community and team
- stop judging others for what they believe
- stop speaking with disdain about your opposition
- stop shifting responsibility for the outcome of your life and blaming leaders
- stop being part of the problem right now on social media and in real time conversations and perpetuating segmentation
- stop looking for things to complain about or be fearful of
- stop polarizing and creating factions in your workplace or community that build internal silos
Start Doing This
- know your niche and use language that galvanizes them into action
- be aware of your personal presentation
- promote unity amongst your team
- speak positively about your competition
- choose words that bring people together
- increase your knowledge of the political, social, economic and cultural landscape
- Be part of the solution and seek to know yourself and others
- explore your own bias and prejudice
- be expectant of good things and intentionally seek out moments to praise
- start galvanizing one another in your workplace and community and work towards a shared vision and bridging the divides
As Leaders in your field, you’re influencing people everyday. Not everyone is vocal, many lurk in the playgrounds and corridors, transport systems and board rooms quietly observing and reflecting on how you handle defeat and lead through change, how you graciously acknowledge your companions and colleagues on the field and stand firm in the victories.
The first 24 hours since President-Elect Donald Trump was announced the victor in the presidential campaign for the American Whitehouse has said as much about the spectators as the participants.
Lessons from Trump’s Speech Whether You’re the Leader or the Follower in Your Company:
- Communicate without tension, relaxed and appreciative
- Acknowledge leadership is complex and there’s no easy way through
- Honour your opponents, competition, or even that person that missed out on the job you were appointed to.
- Extend your thanks to your team – your support crew, those staff who laboured even before you came on the job, and those that have been behind the scenes or in full view
- Extend a call to unity and come together as one team, whether they know, like or trust you yet.
- Pledge your leadership is for the whole organisation, not one part of it, even if you didn’t have full support
- Entreat those who are on the fringe to bring their expertise to the table
- Acknowledge the Movement and the need for change to serve the people
- Outline your vision for the future to build, renew the dreams and maximise potential
- Share the strategic objectives ahead of you and the team, the fiscal responsibilities and framework you can operate within
- Communicate with your trusted partners, stakeholders and suppliers how much you appreciate them and seek to leverage and honour their contribution through this season of change
- Extend gratitude to all who have served so far and prepare them for what lies ahead
- Yes the season of change is tough, it does require hours of input and declare your expectations and hope for the future
- Then take a moment to rest, recognise the responsibility ahead of you and your team, raise the bar of excellence and reward your partners and contributors
Lessons from Clinton’s Speech Whether You’re the Leader or the Follower in Your Company:
- Be gracious in defeat and go straight to the ‘winner’ and congratulate them and assure them of your support
- Acknowledge the Outcome Isn’t What You Wanted with your network and recognise the influence you have to draw people through the change, even if it’s unpopular
- Be Vulnerable and let them know you’re hurting with them
- Remind them this isn’t about one person and lay your ego down. When you sign on to work for the company, whether you got the promotion or not, commit to the buy-in and demonstrate your total commit, know when the season is at a close and retire gracefully or resign from the arena and live to fight another day
Galvanize Each Other to:
- Extend Grace & Work Together
- Uphold the Values & Principles (of your organisations in times of change)
- Demand Daily Participation not Seasonal Uproar in your workplace & community
- Commit to Being Part of the Solution Even Under Different Leadership
- Be Grateful for Those Who Have Laboured With You: Peers & Confidantes, Past Leaders, Family, Labourers
Change is complex.
Show people how to navigate through it.
You will need a team behind you and a circle of colleagues or professionals you can call on. I consider it essential as someone that delivers education and executive coaching, to be both a teacher AND a student, submitting myself to Masterminds and Mentoring. Working with clients in Sydney Australia recently 40 leaders stepped forward and looked at the Change Cycle
Have the robust conversations and don’t shy away from the white elephants.
Pull back the curtains and care enough to confront.
People have power for good and evil. Different doesn’t equal evil anymore than it equals good.
History will reveal through the course of YOUR leadership, the impact and influence your and your peers will have.
As a community member, or ‘company guy’, lead with integrity, get behind the vision of the business. Check your values and if it’s not a good fit design your own outward transition.
Go and lead right now, where you are with what you have in your hand.
Be bold and galvanize one another for unity behind the shared vision, the constitution and closer to home, the values of your company.
Now, get out there and lead.
WORK WiTH TARRAN DEANE
Pre-Order Tarran’s latest book “The Alphabet Principle ~ Your A-Z Guide to Being a Compelling Leader”, www.tarrandeane.com/alphabet/ and contact our team to enquire about Tarran Deane Speaking at your event via info[at]tarrandeane.com
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