Leaders and Genocide
Great leadership avoids dehumanization.
At all costs.
Dehumanization is the root of rampant racism and genocide: things anyone who reads this blog on a regular basis would flatly oppose.
But dehumanization can be subtle. So be aware of these important signals.
Watch your language.
Language is important. The words we use to describe the people around us have meaning and, therefore, implications. Single-word descriptors we commonly use to blanket entire swaths of people affect all of us. Good leaders are careful of their words, choosing them with control and precision. Don’t dehumanize with your language. The impact goes further than you think.
Watch your assumptions
Assumptions draw conclusions based on previous experience while avoiding current fact or recent changes. Assumptions tend to place motive and intent on people. When leading a team, it is usually wise to assume the best until the evidence is clear that you need to believe differently. Default negative assumptions do nothing for building trust or empowering people.
But all assumptions, positive or negative, should be based on the latest information, reality, and truth.
Be cautious before assuming. Ask questions. Listen well. Don’t ascribe motive.
False assumptions lead to stereotypes. Stereotypes lead to prejudice, which leads to dehumanization, racism, and genocide.
You won’t get there overnight.
But your attitudes impact others.
Our collective attitudes impact the world.