the cynical leader

virtue for the attainment of happiness
A couple of weeks ago I heard a story on NPR about being cynical at work from Matt Dattner. He said something that stuck out, something about ‘breaking a vicious cycle of cynicism’, and it has been making me think ever since…

What is cynicism and where can you find it? According to Wilber W. Caldwell, it “an insidious cancer” and everywhere around us. Though he practically answers this question in totality, I still had to explore more of what drives the behavior, and more importantly how to avoid it.

Much of what I have seen in my experience has to do with cause & affect, even more so, intention & manifestation… “If you want to achieve a goal, you must clear out all the hopefully and maybe and can’t nonsense from your consciousness.” Hmmm…cynicism kills goal achievement?

OK, enter work. The weekly cycle set specifically in motion for you to accomplish goals that contribute to society. This is where the vicious cycle has the opportunity to manifest itself in a recognizable pattern. Squash it here, at the very moment it rears its ugly head. If you don’t, it will no doubt become that ‘insidious cancer’ and bleed out into those around you and into other walks of your life.

that’s it? now what?
Get smart about it. Set aside a week or two or more (depending on the severity, history, and context of the cynicism) where you pay close attention to those around you. Study their words, their actions, their commitment to getting tasks done on time, the quality of output they produce, and their overall state of being. People are happiest when most absorbed in their actions, and this is where you should find them at their best. However, cynicism can and will play a crucial role not only in the state of mind but will erode the very fabric of teamwork and group productivity. That doesn’t sound very happy now does it? So go change it!

Learn something you don’t already know. Read some great books and use them as tools to help you implement change. Take Matt Dattner’s tips and put them to good use.

Focus. Help bring new and fresh perspective to the cynical ones you hear everyday. Redirect focus to the positive side of things.

Develop new ways to help manifest the power of intention in your circle at work. You can do this subtly, little by little, or all at once…it’s up to you and your environment (You’re the leader!)

why should i?
We live in “a time when cynicism rots the vine“. But, when everybody is working in complete harmony towards the same set of goals…cynicism has no place and will be kept out by the entire group. It’s the job of each and every one of us to make a choice not to be cynical. Improve the progress of society and stop being so damn cynical! If you need practice, start at home.


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