What’s the churn?

What I call the churn is the emergence of conflict in society as the default mechanism.

That is to say, when trust erodes in a society, that’s where we automatically go. We form in-groups and out-groups around the perception of scarcity, rivalry and revenge. Unfortunately, it’s a natural state around the world to have this kind of in-group and out-group behavior where conflict is more prevalent than trust.

But in our country and in the West, for the most part, we’ve created a culture over the last several hundred years where that is unacceptable. Where out of many come one. Even if we have divergent opinions, which we should, we can come together on what we do believe in and go from there.

In his book “Tribe,” Sebastian Junger says one of the biggest problems facing America today and what makes it so hard for our warriors defending our freedom and our Constitution, is that they come home and see Americans speaking about other Americans with the same contempt that they reserve only for their enemies.

Now think about that. How is that possible? How can we speak of fellow Americans with the same contempt that warriors typically hold for their enemies?

I’m asking you as an American: Where do you fall? Do you view the political opposition or other ethnicities wth contempt? Is the churn sucking you in?

Do you get sucked into the churn as a leader?

Because we’re tribal creatures and emotion drives us, it’s very easy to get sucked into that churn. And it could be around a whole host of ideologies, politics or ethnicities. But it’s dangerous because that churn represents in-groups and out-groups over differences and gaps. Conflict becomes the default, and you end up stepping on the other person to be heard. A feud overtakes a discussion.

Consequently, it’s important to recognize that the churn does exist and trust is eroding all over the country. It’s not just in politics, on the media or on Facebook. Just look around where you live.

Do you see more front porches or more privacy fences?

How to be a leader without a title

As a result of this conflict, trust is eroding in our families, in our communities, in our schools, in our businesses. And we, leaders without a title, have an obligation to stand against that and to restore that trust and to lead us back to a different place. Not an easy thing to do. But if we’re waiting for Washington D.C. or corporate leaders to do it, they’re not coming.

And the only people capable of leading the way out of this is you and me. There are three steps I’m going to give you that can have a massive impact no matter who or where you are. Leadership in this country has always been about the bottom up—everyday Americans stepping up and leading.

So how you can be a better leader?

  1. Understand that when life gets real, we get tribal. For hundreds of thousands of years, as humans have walked this earth, we have been tribal creatures. We are very emotional. We tend to subscribe to revenge before we even think about it. It usually is based around the scarcity of resources, and that’s a kind of fear that runs deep in our soul and causes people to form groups. That doesn’t mean you have to follow suit. Being conscious that others will naturally react that way can help you stay calm when others get tribal.
  2. Stay away from the churn. If you look at life through this lens, you can see the churn like a funnel cloud around you. You can see it on Facebook or in the office. Yet it’s only if you are open to it and you don’t allow it to suck you in that you can see where conflict is manifested and trust is eroded. Look for these funnel clouds of discontentment, and when you see them in your world, whether it’s in your family, business or community, ask yourself how you can address it.
  3. Bridge beyond the churn. The best thing you can do is bridge between the in-groups and out-groups. Real leaders without a title don’t get sucked into fights about race, religion, ethnicities or politics. Real Rooftop Leaders—who have a crystal clear vision of a better world that doesn’t yet exist, who have the dynamic ability to inspire others to help them build it, who inspire others to follow them because they want to and not because they have to—they don’t get caught up in that churn. They bridge beyond it. Create a culture of communications that doesn’t accept that kind of divisive behavior.

From home to the PTA to your business, these three steps will change everything. Your ability to sell in your job will improve, your family will become tighter and your community with strengthen.

Can you stay above the churn?

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