[September 30, 2013] For some reason the “Purpose of Divisiveness” post from 26 September does not work. Here it is reposted.
Yesterday I was listening to the news on the radio while driving. I don’t remember the specific channel or who was talking but I do remember the news reporter replaying comments from a U.S. Representative (purposefully unnamed). Our local political representative was, sadly and not surprisingly, being divisive1.
Senior leaders have an obligation to join people together for a common goal. Our politicians in DC are senior leaders. What they do may take debate and work to find possible solutions or to reach a compromise on disagreements but that is their job and should be their calling.
Our political leaders should be helping join people not divide them. This is what professional leadership is about.
What are a few examples of divisiveness?
- Extreme rhetoric – name calling, association with radicals
- Insulting behavior
- Poor attitude
- Mocking of others
- Chip on the shoulder
- Refusing to communicate
What would be the purpose? I believe the answer is somewhat simple; to achieve “power” over others. This is true whether it is divisiveness in the family, church, company, social club, political capital, etc. Someone, or a group of people, wants to gain power and control of someone else.
Divisiveness in our political and social world is experiencing a comeback. It is doubly unfortunate that some of our political leaders are being divisive in their actions today. If we know it is for power, we understand. It doesn’t make it easier to tolerate but we can begin to work toward solutions once an understanding is reached.
Divisiveness also means no progress.
The loudest voices we hear are those who advocate conflict, divisiveness.
– John C. Danforth
This is an important lesson for senior leaders. Divisiveness is not helpful to accomplish anything of value in the workplace. Divisive employees must be stopped or be removed.
It is incumbent on all of us to identify divisiveness and call it for what it is – a grab for power. Moral courage is needed to call it.
1. forming or expressing division or distribution.
2. creating dissension or discord.