One thing people want to keep to themselves and work towards attaining is ‘power’. Whenever people feel threatened that their power is being taken away from them, they react ever so violently and resist all advances into their territory.
This is applicable in any area of life, your work, relationships, governance et al.
Let me put this in perspective. In India when the Prime Minister appealed to the nation for one day of self-isolation with a self-imposed curfew, the whole nation followed his advice and made that day a success. People were requested and not threatened with control. The request fed into the people’s inherent desire to exercise control over their lives; their choices and they did what was good for them.
At the same time when the very next day, control measures were put in place and the government started to pass rules and imposed stringent measures to stop people from moving out, you saw that more number of people defying the orders. In some places it was just not controllable with hundreds and thousands of people coming out on the streets without any concern of the community spread of the #coronavirus. What was this, I wondered? Come to think of it, is it not a way of expressing an inherent desire to exercise power? Is it their need to still feel in control of their lives?
No one likes being controlled and will resist tooth and nail any attempts to do so. People despise the act of aggression by others and history has taught them abundant lessons on the negative effects of control; so they are conditioned that way.
So what then is an alternative? ‘Empower’ is what I feel the way to go. As on day one of the “People’s Curfew” which empowered people to make their choices, there is a need to create conditions which enables people. To make their own choice and feel that they are still in control. Empowering communities, people and families will possibly an effective alternative to government policing, controlling and monitoring.
Yes, it might look dangerous and fraught with the risk of getting out of control and a potential outbreak, but ‘Empowerment’ does come with the risk but the rewards can be manifold.
Remember, people just don’t like their power to be taken away!
It’s a leadership lesson worth learning during this time.
What else can a leader do to ease the pressure during stressful times?