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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Leadership Matters: Why Putin is the Biggest of #SochiProblems

Lots of interesting things happening in and around Sochi - the "non-existent" gay community is getting arrested for the crime of standing up for their rights in a bigger-scale repeat of what happened to Pussy Riot.  The threat of terrorism from some of Russia's typical foes still looms.  International guests are being made to feel welcome at the expense of their privacy - online, in the shower, etc.

Bigotry and the need for a micro-managerial level of control are typical from systems that are run by and supportive of aggressive, overbearing and egomanical bosses.  

But so too is another trend; bosses more concerned about being seen to be in absolute control are terrible leaders, creating a culture all the way down to the front lines where employees are more worried about their own reputations than serving customers.

You see it in bureaucracies, but you see this trend in far too many companies as well.  Sucky customer service from unmotivated staff?  It doesn't need to be that way.

This sorts of top-down customer service fail is on wide display at Sochi, as hilariously demonstrated through this Twitter account by the National Post's Sean Fitzgerald as captured by Macleans.

All this is clearly explainable at the neurochemical level; people are empowered by a sense of community; oxytocin makes individuals and communities adaptive, pro-social and flexible.  On other other hand, a focus on fear, dominance and ego focuses on a different set of hormones/neurotransmitters, resulting in competitive, dismissive and protectionist individuals and societies.

We've got a lot of leaders promoting the latter.  Sochi is a great example of the kind of mess that sort of non-leadership results in.  North Korea takes that trend even further.

Is that the kind of society we want to live in?

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