Thursday, February 16, 2012

Sharks and Fish

A large school of fish keeps their distance from some sharks. (ht to Karl Robertson via 22 words)
Is the picture above representative of how people respond when you come near?

On the one hand, I don't want to be a shark in my leadership. I don't want to devour or unnecessarily damage those I lead. I don't want to be intimidating and unapproachable.

On the other hand, good leadership often requires a leader to strike out alone, to rise above the crowds and masses. Edwin Friedman calls this self differentiation, and it can be a lonely existence. Friedman writes, "differentiation is the capacity to be one's own integrated aggregate-of-cells person while still belonging to, or being able to relate to, a larger colony." Differentiation is saying "I" when others demand "we."

Sharks are too self-involved and destructive to others, leading to intimidation and isolation.

Fish have no self, resolving to simply go in the flow of the strongest current, all while avoiding any risks or adventures.

Which one strikes a chord of sympathy with you: the shark or the fish?

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