Taking Responsibility for the state we’re in

Taking Responsibility for the state we’re in

Are social media platforms tearing apart the social fabric that binds us together, or are we all, collectively & individually, responsible for the state we’re in?

An article in the Washington Post reports that a former VP of Facebook, has said that the social media platform, and others like, it are tearing apart the social fabric that binds us together.

What if Facebook isn’t to blame? Rather, that we are all, collectively and individually, responsible for the state we’re in?

This is the challenge facing our organisations, communities and society: how do we take responsibility for our reactions to the planned or unintended manipulation from leaders and social media? There are always agendas at play and work, many have nothing to do with the purpose of the enterprise, but instead, involve inter-personal battles for power, prestige and visibility. These aberrations in behaviour highlight the necessity to have a clear understanding of the primacy of Task. We also require the ability to work collaboratively with colleagues and neighbours to have the conversations that keep everyone “on track” and on task. However, the Authority to act in service of the Task is often lost as individuals become absorbed in the seeking of approval and appreciation. The impact can be that our Organisation emerges as a fuzzy haze of activity with unclear lines of accountability and unintended/perverse incentive, reward and communication systems.

The Washington Post article continues, “I think in the back, deep, deep recesses of our minds, we kind of knew something bad could happen” said Palihapittiya [the former VP]”. How many of us have a knowledge of that feeling or have a time where we have had the thought “something is not right in what we are doing”? What we do with this thought and how we behave, is the domain of the enlightened follower. How do we meaningfully engage with our desire to be a good corporate/community citizen in the face of a state of systemic complicity?

The Tavistock Institute of Human Relations’ Leicester Conference provides space for us to study the nature of authority relationships, and the part that leaders and followers take in making and shaping the culture of our organisations and communities. The 72nd Conference, TASK AUTHORITY and ORGANISATION (TAO of Tavistock) is open for applications.

This is a crucial year. Corporate and political leadership is offering us opportunities to exercise our authority in terms of enlightened followership. Looking back 70 years on from the end of the World War 2, people still blame Hitler for the horrors that Eastern Europe experienced. Every nation has a legacy where a “bad” leader is blamed for what the followers did under the leadership regime.

Looking forward, will we blame Trump or Zuckerberg for what is yet to emerge? ….. or can we try it differently, engaging with our followership, naming, owning and transforming our complicity with what is and working collaboratively for what could be?

Come to the Leicester Conference and together, let’s see what we learn about the leadership: followership relationship and relatedness in our precarious, delicate and deeply interconnected world.

Contact Rachel Kelly: R.kelly@tavinstitute.org for further information, or visit the Leicester Conference page.

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