Say Goodbye to Guilt #2
The big problem with guilt is that it makes you loyal for too long to something you should have left a long time ago. While I am a baby boomer by birth, in recent years I have come to admire more and more how generation X operates because the “boomers” keep looking for good leaders to solve their problems while generation X realizes that given the current system, good leaders is an oxymoron, e.g. most leaders are morons. Unfortunately, besides being a boomer, I was also born under the sign of taurus so I am extremely stubborn about moving.
It is pretty easy to identify a tyrant. Lots of people die or get kicked around. Still people feel guilty about leaving a tyrant because they are so fearful of being excluded altogether and being left out there all alone with nothing. The advantage tyrants have is that they have long realized that people are fearful of being excluded and they use this fact to their full advantage. This is why so many women hang onto an otherwise worthless relationship for years and years allowing themselves to experience all kinds of trauma. The fear of being alone is extremely forceful.
Besides having to leave tyrants there is a second group of leaders and organizations that can be equally damaging and hard to leave. They are “conservatives with a creative flare”. They do things exactly like the really traditional ultra conservative groups except that they have some positive creativity and some moral principles that make them look like they are really out for changing the world. You know that a tyrant is a tyrant, and a racist is a racist, but conservatives with a flare lead you on to believe that they are doing something really revolutionary and exciting when, at their core, they are just like all the other traditionalists hanging onto to their closely guarded space and structures.
People tend to hang on with a conservative with a flare because they see the creativity and the ethics and think that something is wrong with themselves when things just don’t live up to all of the hype, but really the core of the organization is very conservative and guards against change very strongly. A few people see right through it, get really angry, and then are thrown out because this kind of traditionalist is like the tyrant in the end. They don’t mind eliminating people to protect their turf and recognition addictions. Conservatives with a flare have about a 5 year run before the walls start to crumble which is about the time they leave to do the same thing somewhere else.
What is really difficult with the flare-types is that they invite you in and allow you to be creative to a degree in the first stages. This is what keeps people loyal and makes them feel guilty in the latter stages, but what happens when you practice creativity is that you always make mistakes which are seen as liabilities. As soon as you start making mistakes, which give you the necessary feedback to refine and change the initial attempts, you are seen as a negative because you take away from the leader’s ultimate goal which is recognition.
You know you are working with a conservative with a flare when you start a new project, it runs into the natural difficulties of all new projects, and then you are called into the office, criticized, and eventually asked to stop the project. A leader who is truly interested in change sees the difficulties, listens to the problems and then then encourages you to go much further.
A conservative with a flare leader can always justify getting rid of you in the end because he has been counting how many times you have made a mistake and then holds that against you. He doesn’t want real change. He wants a little flare to make him look good, but can’t stand to do the work of real change. He will get rid of you in the end almost as fast as the tyrant. You can tell who a conservative with a flare leader is by how many people they have fired.
Someone who is really interested in change is extremely slow to fire people because they are so good at the transformation work. People actually change in their organizations. So you needn’t feel guilty about leaving a conservative with a flare. They are really tyrants that have a creative front.
Be radical. Go for change. Find a group of people who give you encouragement and stay with them. Leave the tyrants and flares.
Interesting definitions and comparisons and definitely good advice about leaving guilt behind. However, I personally could not workout how to ‘leave’ the guilt of being a working mother AND cope with being part of the world’s most disciminated workforce. I suppose my GenX/Y instincts subsequently told me that the morons at the top can ‘stuff it’ and unfortunately this means one less woman in the physical sciences, but a much happier life for me.