On A Position

A colleague shared some hard-earned learning about being, as she called it, “on a position.” That’s when you’re arguing for an outcome you’re emotionally attached to. We need to be conscious of the deep feelings we experience in some discussions. Emotion influences rationality. Rather, emotion is its own kind of rationality.

I took her point, but from a different starting point. I’m challenged often enough to get on a position to begin with. A certain academic ideal of thinking and debating prizes neutrality and objectivity so much that it discourages us from ever getting on a position at all, but rather encourages a kind of intellectual free agency and emotional detachment. Nobody does this in practice. The fight to remain neutral is itself driven by an emotional commitment.

Leaders need to say what we want without apologizing for wanting it. Only from that position can we truly be persuaded by what someone else wants.

One thought on “On A Position

  1. “On a position” is a new expression for me, which is always intriguing. Thanks. I suppose neutrality is a temporary position — it feels like a job! — just like the idea that relaxing IS doing something.

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