The difference between dark or bright leadership starts with how a person in lead deals with fears: using it for own purposes or helping in transforming uncertainties into solutions that are aiming at the best for everyone?
The significant question (2 weeks before US-presidential elections, but since years also for all democratic countries) is who gets to lead society into the future. The leadership-culture and the mere definition of „freedom“ these days depend on people’s choices – and their ability to take a choice. The latter is not self-understanding, regarding the successful emotional manipulation by dark leaders (getting boosted by certain media, bots, algorythms – and the bubbles the people create, who don’t realize that they are being manipulated. Funny enough those who believe in fake news and alternative realities also phantasize about conspiracies but seldom seem to reflect that they could be victims of emotional manipulation themselves).
Yes, we are living in a VUCA-world and there is no sign of an ending to its characteristics (=Complexity, Uncertainty, Volatility, Ambiguity). People and society live in a constantly alerted emotional state, pushed by a seemingly everlasting process to who-knows-where, and stuck between the pressure of the many layers of open questions concerning everyday life and the world’s future. This process of neverending changes leaves people stressed out in a climate of negativity and insecurity.
But an atmosphere of uncertainty can be used in both directions: towards regress or progress.
The emotional manipulation by dark leadership produces chaos, irritation and confusion within people. They constantly try to
- keep people in a state of stress so they are not open for reasoning, reflection, facts, and therefore not able or willing to find realistic solutions that need middle and long-term vision
- change or adapt people’s behavior according to the wishes of the manipulator, be it in voting or creating social bubbles, leading to waves of indignation, making people believe in fake news or conspiracy theories to even thickening the negative atmosphere …
The most important question concerning a possible solution towards emotional manipulation is: Are people doomed to stay in the feelings of stress and reactions of the fight-, flight- or shock freeze-mode and therefore can be easily manipulated into fear-based decisions, ignorant beliefs, or hateful behavior? Or do they manage to get out of the darkness themselves? All other ways of reaction other than regressing behavior can only be opened by successfully dealing with stressful emotions!
People must learn how to draw a conscious decision between regress and progress – and to do so, they must first understand, that there actually is a decision-making process involved: Because their feelings and emotions do not represent the one and only reality, but are merely a reverberation of one owns habits, expectations, fears and hopes. No one is obliged to react blindly on his or her emotions, to act them out as if they were the only way of how to find orientation in a chaotic world. Emotions are signs. We have to learn how to read them instead of blindly following them.
We must understand that we all have a choice in what to believe and how to behave: A lot of people these days ask for higher moral standards or clearer rules of “good behavior”, they demand that everyone has to obey such standards or be penalized (e.g. for spreading negativity in social media). But such demands leave out the process of drawing a conscious choice! Civility nowadays is not any more about moral conditioning or social habits (we should not demand back authoritarian parenting or a repressive social system), neither is it about believing in good or bad; it’s actually about… yes, again: drawing a conscious choice. And to be able to draw this choice starts with the ability of dealing successfully with uncertainty, of being able to handle negative emotions and finding a way of control and self-empowerment that does not come with acting out aggression, be it verbally or physically, but leads to search and invent solutions.
Today we live in a deeply divided society. It seems that reasoning fights against emotion; fear fights trust; tendencies of regress and destruction fight with progress and constructive aims; fake news, alternative realities and conspiracy theories fight with the displays of a complex reality.
The evolution of humanity begins right here, at this crack in society. It begins with a conscious choice of each one of us, leading towards the transformation of insecurity and fear, anger or helplessness into trust, empowerment and constructive solutions!
This so much needed transformation – the one that may answer the burning questions of what to do with our divided society – leads from uncivilized to civilized behavior. Such a transformational process accompanies individuals and society from a climate of negative and stressful feelings, emotions, behavior, thoughts, and expectations into first neutral ground and from there to a more fact-based field and third to solution-oriented discussions.
A sole question calls out for everyone of us to take action: How do we use this phase in history? Our choice writes our personal history and the world’s destiny at the same time: Do we let dark leaders burn down civility, leaving democracy, human rights or rationality out in the wild to die a slow death on the silver plate that authoritarian power-gamblers love to celebrate their show-fights on? Are people left alone with their unsolved emotions, being fodder for dark leaders? Or do we take our chance to create a conscious development towards civil empowerment and self-empowerment?
Every single one of us can be a role-model of civil behavior: but not by judging others, or by being a moral know-it-all, but by making transparent when we are affected ourselves and showing how we deal with negative affection. By meta-communicating of how we personally handle irritating emotions, we all can help others to better deal with them themselves. By accomanying others through critical phases, by asking questions, by being empathic, by trying to understand and relate to them, we can help them build up resilience against the emotional manipulation of dark leaders. A developed and democratic society needs mature citizens!
In doing so, we consciously take a vote for a better future… So wherever you are:
TAKE YOUR VOTE!