Appraisals of leadership

Weaponised words

I found myself living angrily this week. Angry at the realities of leadership that is evidently serving itself.

I try hard to maintain a network diverse enough not to be an echo chamber. I now find myself doubting whether my LinkedIn commentary this week has been constructive. Particularly that aimed directly at leadership. However, there were plenty others doing the same. Those voicing concern at direction – not the personal attacks that some feel free to share.

From my own filtered view, this social media showing of public mood seems to have been a persuasive factor in international diplomacy. A weight of sentiment, acting as a straw poll. Certainly the discourse rattled my own thoughts enough to draw some conclusions. And then call foul on leadership seemingly content to rattle sabres whilst quietly cashing in Russian cheques.

v | b | trust

This is low trust – the deceit of leadership. This is trustworthiness at its lowest ebb. Based upon remembered past bad experience of the individual. Or less helpfully, the bias and social stereotypes we each bestow upon out-groups, whilst we pretend we and our in-group stand tall.

visibility | b | t

This is increased visibility being sought. Increased uncertainty requiring closer examination. More regular checking. More questioning of response. Higher trust would curb some enquiry. But this is following discovery of falsehoods by our servants of government. Having been let down before and therefore wanting to see more. Seeing statements like “we will be decisive” meaning “we are being hesitant”. Still seeing the old characters in the spotlight. Smirks. Arrogance. Contrite. I’m alright.

v | behaviour | t

This is poor behaviour. This is Vladimir Putin receiving all manor of dignitaries in the last two weeks in order to reinforce a duplicity of assurance and intent. This too is the international responses that have since been slow to act – privately gauging public mood – whilst offering strong language to Ukrainian counterparts, in need of action not words.

On the other hand this is a speech from a comedy actor, turned premier. Speech amidst action. Leading by example. All capturing the attention of a wider world because it highlights the flaccid response from the rest. Words lead from the front in direct action, not cosy intentions or promises pretending to be more.

Other poor behaviour in leadership this week. This is Grant Shapps merrily posting on LinkedIn that he has set a TfL budget and that he now expects others to carry the blame. Delegation with no interest in ongoing influence or control. This is the Post Office scandal – a board and their lawyers allegedly attempting to hush up a litany of errors and concealing the collateral damage they knowingly caused. This is Carillion and it’s auditors now under investigation for what I can only assume to be – at the very least – contemptible apathy by all. In all cases this is leadership by proxy. A defensive decision-making attitude that exposes a willingness to see failure on their watch – conditional only upon ensuring failure is permitted to pass by with blame attached. Delegated blame, intended to ensure protection of a party, a corporation, or (more cynically) individual interests that can be thereafter restored.

A side note here is the caveat we all hold. The attempt to distinguish behaviour, by its intention. The white lie for good reason. Any parent or friend or mediator will know that – what is justified, half-said, or left out. In positions of influence or power, such intention inevitably becomes selective toward self-interest. The goodly compromise, that erodes morality; becoming the compromised, via self-declared moral cause. We are all human, after all.

visibility | behaviour | trust

What I conclude here is that I have been heuristically seeing these evolving situations with the tool improvisation anyone does when in a hurry. Returning to quick and peripheral judgements. I have sought more closely to assess what I think are hidden motivations and self-serving attitudes, based on a low level of trust in those I observe.

The sting in this tail

A final point is one I have had to ponder. Because I truly wish to reflect upon truth. This low trust in leadership I hold is recurring. It is sometimes one bordering on anti-establishment sentiment from within the establishment that keeps me safe. At some level it is a projection. If I am honest, one drawn from wondering if I would fair any better in face of such challenge of my own leadership. Or more squarely, my aversion to it’s sting.

In of itself, this is much the same assessment possible via a truth outlined via my own visibility | behaviour | trust. I am angry at leadership that does not serve, because the temptation is ever present to be just the same. We are all human, after all. But that’s the challenge, not the excuse.

Leading by example

Winning hearts and minds

We are about to turn a European country into a guerrilla buffer zone. That seems to be the (lack of) plan. Pretty despicable by all sides, and the worst-case outcome for Putin who I assume still favours that outcome to an overt NATO alliance war.

SWIFT may be a symbollic gesture. It is still a more meaningful gesture than the symbollic words and bluster offered so far. All nationalities weighing up economic priorities are sharing the shameful hesitation that Putin was counting on. And denying the early moral support “swift” action would have offered to the people of Ukraine.

This is the overt and globally supported economic action. Whatever is covert as forces and weapons on the ground is not what is putting hope into hearts and minds. SWIFT is the tangible actions that fearful Ukrainian people can see. Ironically slow is this response.

Enough of the powderpuff words that us armchair patriots desire. Time to test the hypobole of contingent planning, not just the rhetoric of resolve.

Original LinkedIn comment here

Get used to the stare

When not looking is the problem

When a child tells a fib it is called out. If the denial continues so does the cross-examination. A behaviour unbecoming is observed. An event becomes a doubt. A little trust temporarily lost.

Visibility | behaviour | trust

This is the basic premise of v | b | t. The less trust we have in someone’s behaviour, the more information we wish to see.

Anyone following my blogs will see this used regularly. It helps me evaluate situations, appropriateness of controls, and direct questions at all level of authority when the level of visibility sought is not in keeping with range of possible behaviour and underlying trust.

Grab any headline in the news and give it a go. It’s surprisingly insightful what the imbalances really show. And disappointingly predictable as to where the easiest points of failure repeatedly go.

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here:

Qualification vs Experience PART 1

To own or apply knowledge

This is a LinkedIn favourite. Click-bait, guaranteed to provoke reaction. It is an ever-valid discussion to return to. In my consulting discussions the debate of demonstrating qualified staff or experience in role is equally divisive. But I have no doubt, experience counts.

PART 2 of this blog will perhaps revisit some past threads of discussion. For now however, I simply want to demonstrate what I think is really being asked. For me this is simply the difference between having and being.

I have blogged about having vs being before. Links will appear at the bottom of this post. Nothing here is new. Dave Snowden regularly speaks of people relying on form when it is process that counts. John Vervaeke runs regular YouTube dialogue presenting these differences as contributors to the meaning crisis.

From a knowledge perspective we can consider this as the difference between acquired and applied learning. In those terms it perhaps becomes self-evident what the difference between qualification and experience reflects. But I will elaborate for clarity.

This can be explained across the categories of visibility | behaviour | trust (v|b|t).

Qualifications v | b | t

visibility | b | t

High visibility. But only visibility of potential. Measurable as standardised evidence to demonstrate that a core knowledge has been achieved. Employers can advertise expectations in standardised language for all potential candidates to self-select against. It also presents benchmarks to aim toward. At the heart of the visibility is the question “is this particular example of human form able to contribute to our process?” In this regard the qualification presents an attribute – a speculative possibility.

v | behaviour | t

Them and us behaviour. This is having mode. Ownership. To have a degree certificate is to own a qualification. To be Associate or Fellow qualified in a professional capacity is to have achieved a demonstration of learning in your craft. This is to have. This is form. It is a material representation of attaining a learning from an institution. It is something that has been acquired. By the application of personal resources of time and money towards gaining something others have offered you as an exchange. The conclusion of which is a necessary demonstration that this acquisition has been successful. A confirmation is awarded based on a manner of pre-determined examination of your account or recall.

v | b | trust

Them and us, as credibility. Trust is inherently placed in the hands of a third-party. These are institutions of learning, academically or otherwise accredited. It thereby increases distance between candidate and employer; prospective service provider and customer. At scale this is organisational accreditation or licence to operate. But such certifications are also an enabler of the defensive decision-maker. Lowering the necessary skill-base of the assessor; reducing decision parameters; optimising short-lists. This trust is assumed. It is therefore fragile, rigid to the framework it reflects, standardised, and potentially subject to abuse.

Experience v | b | t

visibility | b | t

High visibility. Measurable in years, or reputation, or demonstrable by tangible success. Success measurable by metrics of application not acquisition.

v | behaviour | t

Applied know-how is able to be demonstrated. Learning whilst doing and understanding of contextual application in action and deeds. Contextually relevant is therefore more detailed in explanation and demonstration. It can command more respect simply because it is the being part of the process, not simply representing the potential to be.

v | b | trust

A closer approximation of fit to role is possible. It requires a greater ability to share a trust. A trust can be built based upon shared understanding of process. Abstraction by both parties (e.g. employer and employee) who can better empathise with the other, having better modelling in mind of what the process they share as intentions, requires of the other.

A practical example of having or owning knowledge vs applying it

I conclude with a further example of the limited visibility that owned knowledge represents. This is day 643 of lockdown in Casa Beardall. Undoubtedly now my most intense era of knowledge acquisition. One MSc completed, and another underway. Owned knowledge by qualification. But my owned knowledge is accumulating by another metric – by the volume of literature I have acquired. This last 12 months, the calendar year of 2021, I have spent over £1,000 on books. I have accounted for them all. They are listed in the table below. I can claim to have read them all. I do claim to have read most. But all you can seek as validation is visibility e.g., evidence that I physically own them.

Some of these books have been heavy reading. Some almost impenetrable (Kant or more recently Heidegger). Some of the books are just a guide to others. The point is who is to know if I have read them, let alone understood them. But even if I sit an exam to demonstrate an understanding of them, it has no reflection on whether I can apply them to anything meaningful to you or anything worldly at all.

A book seems to me the perfect metaphor as a simplification of this debate. Anyone can own a book. Have this knowledge to hand. It is a literal form of knowledge. But to apply knowledge is to not have it to hand. It is to have it abstractly available in mind. And thereby find means to apply it to something new.

In the zoom age these displays are everywhere. Bookshelves strategically located behind camera shots. Mine included. The academic class more guilty than most. Other than perhaps politicians.

We can display all, but in the end it is application that counts. And experience is the easiest representation of that.

I will conclude the crassness with the following table. Hubris on show.

Having or Being | Form or Process | Acquired or Applied?

A list of books purchased in 2021. A gratuitous display. That demonstrates more of my commitment to charities vs publishers, than it does to how the content may be applied.

£803.70Subtotal from Oxfam 
£36.84The goalamazon
£29.99Historical Sociology and World Historyo51****
£27.07What is ancient philosophy?amazon
£24.99Language and Social Relationso50****
£21.95Fool’s Goldamazon
£21.38Becoming humanamazon
£20.00Jungian psychoanalysis: Working in the Spirit of Carl Jungo38****
£20.00Conjectures and Refutations by Karl Poppero51****
£20.00William James and the transatlantic conversationo44****
£19.99Social Psychology — 8th Editiono65****
£19.99Psychology and Alchemyo38****
£19.99History of Western Philosophy – Bertrand Russello51****
£19.99what causes human behaviour – stars, selves or contingencies?o61****
£19.33Essays of Francis Baconamazon
£16.48Karl Jaspers : The origin and goal of historyamazon
£15.99Kants Critique of Practical Reasono46****
£15.00Representing and Interveningo51****
£15.00Short History Of The Communist Party Of The Soviet Uniono44****
£15.00ETHIC of Benedict de Spinoza: Demonstrated in Geometrical Ordero44****
£14.99Principles of Brain Dynamics Global State Interactionso38****
£14.99Summa Theologica – Volume 17: Psychology of Human Actso33****
£14.99Existentialism and Humanismo33****
£14.99Leibniz: Nature and Freedomo51****
£14.99The Psychology of Politicso61****
£14.99The human use of human beingso61****
£14.99The Philosophy of David Humeo45****
£14.99The Freud Jung Letterso50****
£14.99Kant’s Critique of pure reason; translated by Norman Kemp Smitho45****
£14.99Will Hutton – Them and Us – Signed First Editiono44****
£14.99Newman on the Psychology of Faith in the Individual [1928]o44****
£14.99An Introduction to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy: Second Editiono44****
£14.99Joseph Campell’s selected letters 1927-1987amazon
£14.50Josepeh Campbell’s hero with a thousand facesamazon
£14.02Joseph Campbell’s pathways to blissamazon
£13.99Being and timeo44****
£13.66Your Leadership Legacy : becoming the leader you were meant to beamazon
£13.62Tales from two sides of the brainamazon
£12.99Megaprojects and Risk: An Anatomy of Ambitiono46****
£12.991177 BCE : the year civisation collapsedamazon
£12.95Explaining the Braino44****
£12.15Bandit Capitalism : Carillionamazon
£12.00Complex/Archetype/Symbol in the Psychology of C.G. Jungo33****
£11.99Imitatio Christio46****
£11.98The goal of philosophyamazon
£11.63The conciousness instinctamazon
£10.99Freedom and beliefo38****
£10.99The Essential James Hillman: A blue fireo44****
£10.00The Problems of Philosophyo33****
£10.00The Self and Its Brain: An Argument for Interactionismo51****
£10.00Statistics for psychologyo44****
£10.00Vygotsky’s Psychologyo44****
£9.99Analyzing Social Science Datao65****
£9.99Ego & Archetypeo38****
£9.99Coleridge’s Works – Aids to Reflection – published in 1890o51****
£8.99Buddhismwithout belief : a contemporary guide to awakeningamazon
£8.96Applying AI to Project Managementamazon
£8.75How the Project Management Office can use AI to imporve the bottom lineamazon
£8.44Gods in Everyman : a new psychology of man’s lives and lovesamazon
£8.15Risk Savvyamazon
£8.00The structure of scientific revolutionso46****
£8.00Routledge philosophy guidebook to Kant and the Critique of pure reasono44****
£7.99The Story of Civilization. Rousseau and Revolution 10. The Protestant Northo46****
£7.99Chomsky’s Reflection on Languageo46****
£7.99The Conscious Mind In Search of a Fundamental Theoryo38****
£7.99The Poetical Works of Shelleyo45****
£7.99The desert fathers :sayings of the early christian monksamazon
£7.78Who’s in Charge?amazon
£7.50Mind and cosmoso51****
£7.49The Vision of Judgment and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage Cantos III & IVo51****
£7.49Existential Analysis 11.2,12.1 & 13.1o50****
£7.19The Human Side of Managing Technological Innovationo46****
£7.00Time – Rhythm and Reposeo38****
£7.00The House at Pooh Cornero33****
£7.00Radical prioritieso44****
£7.00Mapping The Mindo44****
£6.99Foundations of Euclidean and Non-Euclidean Geometryo46****
£6.99The Neurotic Personality of Our Timeo46****
£6.99An Essay concerning Human Understandingo45****
£6.99Early Christian writing : the apostellic fathersamazon
£6.71Will Durant’s The Story of Philosophyamazon
£5.99The Shakespeare Classics: The Taming Of A Shrewo33****
£5.99Critique of the Power of Judgment (2008)o51****
£5.97Critical chainamazon
£5.00Mapping the Mindo51****
£4.99Social Psychology: A Study of Human Interaction (1965)o65****
£4.99Two treatises of governmento46****
£4.99Rousseau’s Political Writingso45****
£4.99An enquiry concerning human understandingo45****
£4.99Freedom Evolves, Daniel C. Dennett, Penguin Paperbacko44****
£4.99Workplace counsellingo44****
£4.84Plato : The Republicamazon
£3.99Understanding the Self-Ego Relationship in Clinical Practiceo51****
£3.99Mind Watching: Why We Behave the Way We Doo61****
£3.99The Language Instinct: The New Science of Language and the Mindo45****
£3.99The village effecto44****
£3.00Oscar Wildeo45****
£2.99Real Confidenceo44****
£2.99The emerald tablet of Hermesamazon
£2.49The Science of Passionate Interests: … Tarde’s Economic Anthropologyo51****
£2.49The measure of all thingso51****

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here:

100 posts

Time, cost, or quality

Existence before essence. With over one hundred blogs offered I’m revisiting some basic principles of priority. The natural emergence of my blog topics seems to be me a key part of my process. I still have much to say. Much to read. Much to do. My research will carry me through.

But my personal intention to blog daily is now reaching its natural point of peak. I wish to retain the flow. But I also journal. I work. I research. I prepare for MSc exams.

From here-on-in it is daily blogging, perhaps. More correctly, it is affording as much time and as appropriate an amount of opportunity cost directed towards the deliberate attention to maintain quality of output. Quality, time and cost. Those seem to me the correct iron-law inspired priorities to guide my hand.

That’s my project musing for this evening. I return now to an existential crisis. A crisis of perspective for which Martin Heidegger and Jean-Paul Satre maintain. There’s a project angle here I am yet to land within this very different philosophical discourse. All the time I need – the luxury that projects are universally denied – now my ally and with it more possibility to understand.


About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here:

visibility | b | t

Law abiding citizenship

Do a bit, see a bit more. Seek a bit more, see much more. This is a brief blog, highlighting sources of information we may wish to explore.

Many more blogsites have come to my attention since I began blogging. Here are two of note.

Increased visibility by looking more

visibility | b | t

Reliance on media feed seems our collective default. However, blogsites with specific interests and specialism are everywhere. It seems to me a more effective means to see more of what needs to be seen. One less filter between the subjective viewer and the objective reality they are trying to see.

v | behaviour | t

But of course there is new bias to reflect upon. It becomes more demanding of the viewer to seek out these better questions. Be more present to the issues. More vigilant to the need to seek out more. Not be overwhelmed by the task of finding the sources that the media headlines do not.

v | b | trust

This then becomes a new form of trust. There is necessary need to trust yourself. To have honed your own ability to seek answers to new questions. To self-determine the validity of the source. Take more care in the degree of trust in the source.

Being present

I have explained this in the language of enquiry I now use. Directing my interest in intended change – as a project. The sources we accept, are our own projects of information gathering. Something we are pre-programmed to do. Something we are minded to make efficient and easy. But not always therefore with necessary interest in what is truly true.

Hope is at hand

The good will of the masses is what I think sits near at hand. The doing actions of those motivated by truth. Their version of truth, but still a better truth, a more visible truth, than what media commercialism has become. I am grateful for finally finding some new windows to look through.

What is immediately apparent is just how much we do not see. What is not reported. What is not of interest to the filters. This is said with no grudge. It is just a commercial reality of life. This is not conspiracy, this is behaviour. Giving us what we want, or what is easy to see. As consumers this is our vague trust. Our happy distance from the real. I see little merit in blaming the media moguls, when it is we the public who can at any moment dictate a different tone. Dictate what it is we intend to see.

Own your enquiry

Blog-sites are everywhere. They just need to be unearthed. Then assessed for quality, bias, and reliability. But if you have the time, or the inclination, there is more than social media click-bait, derived from headline grabbing media feed, waiting for you.

I am learning this only now. Maybe you can learn this too – without having to become a blogger just to take in this view. I began this blog by highlighting two blogsites of note, to get you on your way. The upholding of law is a place where hidden behaviours are exposed. Where trust is questioned. Tested. Sought to be proved. And if so inclined, visible to us all.

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here:

Show and tell

A trickster mask unpacked

This is how I created the Trickster image that ends each of my blog entries. I also share some other work to emerge from the same learning journey this represents.

I do more than just work and research from my desk…

There is a dabble of psychology here. A reflection upon flow. Mostly however, this is just a tentative peak into my creative process. Amidst those tougher moments I am sure we all have to make our way through from time to time. In any collaborative process, communication is key. Sometimes that communication and understanding is necessary from within…

Free hand shapes can be drawn in VisioPro. This mask and cave-drawing were adapted from numerous stock images, mouse controlled freehand. Thereafter repurposed, fragmented, shaded. All within VisioPro.

Jack-a-lope (unpacked) – completed 7th February 2021

Visio (Microsoft Visio Professional 2016) is a tool I use for preparing workshop materials in my consulting role. I find using such software as artistic mediums both a means of creative release and reason to be learning new skills I can bring back to the workplace.

A YouTube video inspired logo

I discovered easier ways to fragment images using Visio – YouTube full of tutorials on how to create logos in using this tool. It takes a little practice but basic shapes such as this are surprisingly straight-forward. If considered in the context of flow, these skill improvements are incremental, but each leads to the next, empowering an inner confidence to try more difficult things.

Jaq O’byte (see below) was produced using similar start points of imagery, and built up over several days. I was having a tough time in my head in these few days. Visio becoming a creative outlet. With some increasing ambition as new tricks, tips, and visual effects were learned, discovered, applied and adapted. Even on the tough days flow becomes easier to find when basics are built upon over time.

Jaq O’byte (completed 13th March 2021)

These characters are more than random images. They each became intermingled with narratives, short-stories, and psychological examinations with my therapist. Typically these moments of high creative activity become directed toward wider thought, but inner struggle directed me inwards. The art-work sometimes cause and sometimes effect of the ebb and flow. Much of this is symbolic and with personal meaning. Maybe I will elaborate on this at some point. But not today.

This logo began life as an ambitious attempt at explain how critical controls between parties need a connecting piece to be shared – projects | within projects was in mind as this emerged on a page.

A project of integration to connect two projects of control (completed 16th March 2021)

Thanks for reading to the end. Not directly research or work related, but hopefully a little more visibility upon a process. A little understanding of how behaviours turned toward inner need can become productive. A little trust derived from better understanding of such demands and needs.

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here:

Your written word

Remember son, your words travel further than you…

This is the single best piece of advice I have been offered. The best from a long list of the good. Presented to me by my father, when I was still at school.

This was in the 1980s. Long before our written word became the default communication in everyday life. No social media. No email. The days of the telephone as a device intended for speaking, not committing text to the whole world. Your word was in letters, in memoranda, in essays, briefing notes, and reports. Handwritten. Maybe typed. Your words travel further than you – was advice reflecting the care needed in formatting, grammar, clarity, and impressions of professionalism in yourself. Now, it is advice to wear in all of life.

This evening I find myself looking in some wonderment – again – at comments on LinkedIn. Wonderment that my own views must age me, and perhaps define me. At least by the default position I take in communication. It reflects other discussions (mostly verbal) I have had with people seeking my advice. People I have mentored or managed. People I have coached, guided, or just advised via passing remark.

Here is the Linkedin post as to present full content and context. This is what had me a little baffled, tonight. It is written by one of the editors on LinkedIn news.

OMG, my boss follows me on Insta

It’s not uncommon to befriend your colleagues, and many workers follow each other on social media. But what happens when a follow request from the boss lands in your notifications? It turns out, workers are a little more nervous about opening that door into their personal lives, according to a recent study. But it’s “become increasingly unavoidable,” writes Insider’s Sawdah Bhaimiya, who shared these tips on keeping your feed appropriate:

– Know your company’s social media guidelines and culture.

– Consider cleaning up your social media history.

– “Moderate yourself.”

– Keep politics to a minimum.

– Ask yourself if you would say it to someone’s face before posting

Kelli Nguyen editor of LinkedIn News

All comment and advice I think valid and sensible. But for me this is part of wider lessons to learn. Whether on social media or otherwise, always have in mind, your words travel further than you. So now do your images.

Would you say it to someone’s face, is a good question. In the project world when negotiations or critical debates are on email – when temperatures raising and tempers short – I warn people to beware the email bravery. It amounts to the same thing. But also imagine your images or words being shown to your grandmother, or being read at an employment tribunal, or presented as the last thing you said – at your wake. Your words travel further than you, and by extension talk on your behalf when you are not there.

v | b | t

To expand the point, here is the one example I have been using for twenty years. My adaption of the best of advice given to me. In keeping with this blog series, I have found means to frame this example around the three categories of visibility | behaviour | trust

Visibility | b | t

Claire Swire. That is the name I always send people away to look up when I am needing to make this point. This was an unfortunate story from twenty years ago. It went viral as a story. Indeed that was the story. I need say no more. The story is still highly visible and easy to find. It is also debateable as to whether all accounts are true.

v | behaviour | t

The flip side of that same story is the alleged post event behaviours of the parties involved. But also the immediate aftermath and longer lasting impact of impressions social behaviours can leave. True or in jest, the exponential click bait this became was most certainly for real.

v | b | trust

Trust could be considered in many ways here. First, there is contemporary debate as to whether this story is just an early example of fake news. Fact or fiction, it serves to reflect wider issues of trust. Trust between friends breached. Trust in a safe environment misplaced. The trust between employee and employer via vicarious reputations. When name and disrepute can be used in the same sentence, other terms like appropriate conduct or wilful misconduct, may divide whatever trust employee and employer may have otherwise assumed.

The actor in the show

Across all three of these v | b | t metrics, it becomes less relevant whether you have given tickets to an audience, or whether a wider audience have somehow found their own way to your stage. The visibility of your behaviour is increased when freely offered in writing – or any media form you choose to symbolise and express your life – never truer now that our platforms of communication are public and multimodal and one influencer away from being viral. You have no control over where your word goes. The only control is the words that you print, and pictures you post.

The witness or the voyeur

From the other perspective, and still using v | b | t , what behaviours are reflected in trying to connect on social media like Instagram? Consider the trust and closed distance assumed when social lines blur too far. How do you appear to others, when looking? What is your behaviour saying of you? What trust are you naively building in friendships, and what could you be building as different trust, better trust, in its place?

Context is all of course, but maybe – as the boss – your staff deserve some privacy. Maybe so do you. Maybe as the boss you should be thinking of the appropriate boundaries to keep. Maybe let your team have time without you. Give them space to freely talk about you, not to you. Or for a few moments, not have to suffer you at all. And accept the discussion may not always be nice. Maybe come to terms with the occasional role you play as the unifying villain, that gets everyone through. They need a leader not a friend. That’s why it gets lonely at the top. And a little creepy to stare.

This balance is hard to manage. The tyrannical boss vs the weakling boss. Only one is likely to come knocking as a friend. But so too may the master manipulator. Either way, I would prefer to be managing father to son, than as the older brother trying to rein in a sibling, or cousin, or a more intimate one. I am struggling to think why Instagram would serve any appropriate boss to employee need.

Concluding advice

To the employee therefore, be mindful of your visibility. Your words travel further than you

To the over-friendly boss, rethink your behaviour. Your actions may one day speak louder than your words

To both employees and bosses on social media, consider v | b | t. If visibility and behaviours are unfiltered, your trust is misplaced. You take unnecessary risks and leave yourself exposed. The only control you have charge of out here, is self-control. Just as it is in any public space.

About Me

In psychology we are required to look beneath the mask. This blog series is attempting to unmask some hidden parts of projects to engender a more collaborative way.

Find my professional mask here: