When we talk about the dark side of human nature we are trying to understand the negative emotions that poor communication between one another invokes.
Sadly it is general knowledge that most human relationships are unsatisfactory – not to say that they are oppressive or negative – but it is a part of life that the majority of relationships are not excellent.
The darkness is our natural negativity; disappointment, dissatisfaction, anguish, jealousy, betrayal, anger and so on. It is not deniable, it is not necessarily a bad thing, but it must be made useful for it to become acceptable…
Denying the darkness – striving for perfection
Everyone knows that perfection does not exist and that it must be excellence for which we strive to achieve satisfaction. But do we understand why? Perfection is static – it is one thing that is perfect and nothing else will do. Excellence is malleable, it is free-flowing and can manifest in many ways. For example – if this piece of writing was to be perfect, it must only be produced in one exact way, for it to be excellent it can be written with many different expressions, all making the same point.
Culture tip: Perfection is controlling, excellence is liberating.
And this is why striving for perfection brings out the dark side of our human nature. The lack of opportunity to express negative emotions flies in the face of our primordial ‘fight or flight’ response. To try to avoid or suppress this negativity creates toxicity and runs the risk of exacerbating the situation.
Now, here’s the dilemma… Finding the opportunity to allow expression and release the negative emotions whilst following up lead opportunities, exploring business growth opportunities and hitting targets and deadlines. With running a business, most companies struggle to create strategies to clear this negative build up and so struggle to create the opportunity to move onward and upward in the human relationship stakes.
Accepting your dark side – Striving for excellence
With excellence as a free-flowing, liberating concept to strive for, getting that one thing done as a measure of achievement in business can be considered as the pursuit of perfection and only a segment of success. Focusing solely on ‘things done’ we are denying the ‘who we could become’ and the ‘how we can achieve’ elements of success.
This is where excellence emerges as the new paradigm of behaviour and positive emotions come to light; perseverance, satisfaction, creativity, patience, empathy and many more… We may not get that one thing done, but we have become someone more patient, determined and creative in the process, we are letting go of perfection and becoming excellent – success!
Culture tip: Failure to achieve that one thing is not failure in the pursuit of excellence.
Back to the dilemma of how
The principal style of leadership that successful companies adopt is one that emulates that of a leadership coach. Coaching is a skill-set primarily aimed at clearing negativity as it arises in real-life situations – something that is much needed, especially in the business arena. Be the coach. Connect the workforce with the purpose and vision of the company and dispel negativity as it arises with the pursuit of excellence as the focus of success, not perfection. Whoever you are, whatever your operational role in the workplace, be the coach and look for excellence.