The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The way we engage

When seeking to be polite, there is a high probability that it is a social act linked to some obligation. There is nothing bad about it. It may be the best possible thing to do in that moment and can also be a kind thing to do. However, the trigger is a social one.

When being kind, things are different. The motivation is internal and the action most certainly also polite. If not simply polite.

The difference between both is how we come to our reaction. One is internally motivated, the other one is motivated by the desire to belong and based on expected behavior.

We need both.

Understanding the difference between both serves us in our leadership.

Someone who is accountable because they are being requested to do so will keep the obligation in mind. Their focus will be on the possible punishment should they fail. Their fear of punishment comes with a sense of injustice. They see themselves as being controlled.

Someone who is accountable because of their support for the project and the appreciation for the person helping them to be accountable will see failure from a different angle. They are not fearing punishment, they are committed to the result. They feel trusted.

It may not always be possible to achieve the latter. And there are many reasons for that. But it shows the impact of fear. It also shows how far a sense of safety can go.


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