The less like other people you are, the more appealing you will be as a potential leader.
And nowhere is this a more striking differentiation than in your ability to “de-center” yourself.
Most people engage in communication as if they were the center of the universe. Directly or indirectly, everything is about them. They lead from and into their own minds, their own concerns, their own agendas.
As a leader, you have to set yourself apart. The most profound way of doing this is to equip yourself to be capable of de-centering yourself.
That means little else than getting outside of yourself – of seeing the world and performing in it from the standpoint of a critical observer. Observe what is going on. Not from your viewpoint. From the viewpoint of a critical observer personally removed from the action.
Orchestrate what is going on as if you were a fly on the wall. Otherwise you will be a fly in the ointment. You will end up leading from yourself rather than from a neutral point of view.
It is not easy. That’s why it is called de-centering. Cease to be the center of the universe with all of your emotions, your pre-dispositions, and other frailties.
You can orchestrate what you will say, how you will understand, and direct the whole scenario if you can de-center yourself.
The more powerful your position, the more likely you are to suffer from megalomania and from narcissism. You will be inclined to satisfy your own interests first. Your take on the world will be your reality.
The only reliable antidote is de-centering. The more you can see the world from outside yourself, the better you will be as a communicator. The more you can see other people as they see themselves and their worlds, the more effective you will be.
It is a real achievement, this de-centering. You must learn how to do it if you intend to be a successful leader.
Don’t plead your case directly. Plead your case as if it were their case. This requires some remapping and some reframing of their perspectives. It will be worth all the effort required to learn how to do it.
Begin and end with others’ ROA in mind. The payoff for you is then assured.
– Lee Thayer