What I Shared at Wild Goose, Part 5: What I’m Learning about Communication

I had the opportunity to share briefly with the Lead Now flock at Wild Goose Festival. I talked (among other things) about what the 2016 election and its aftermath are teaching me about communication and leadership.

In a word: I don’t know enough about communication.

I talked about 5 psychological realities that I wish I had known about 40 years ago. Here they are, along with a 6th I didn’t mention. (These phenomena have a lot of actual data to back them up. You can google the italicized term for more info.)

  1. Confirmation Bias: People tend to accept only what confirms what they already know.
  2. Complexity Bias: People prefer a simple lie over a complex truth.
  3. Community Bias: It is very hard for people to accept an idea, no matter how true, that will make them risk rejection from a community they depend on. (Sorry, I don’t have a reference on this at the moment.)
  4. Competency Bias: Incompetent people don’t know they’re incompetent. That makes it hard to teach them anything! (See Dunning-Kruger Effect.)
  5. Consciousness Bias: People at a certain level of consciousness (think Integral theory, Piaget, Fowler, Kohlberg, Perry, Blake, Kierkegaard, etc.) can’t imagine how the world looks like for others at more advanced levels of consciousness, so they assume others see the same things in the same way.
  6. Complacency Bias: People resist compassion for predictable reasons. See this article on psychic numbing for more on this one.

My point to the Lead Now folks was that if we want to lead, we’re going to have to take the change-resistant brains of potential followers (and opponents) more seriously – along with our own brains!

BTW – it’s fascinating to read the gospels with these biases in mind, and see Jesus the master teacher confronting and sabotaging them. For more on Jesus as master teacher, see my book The Secret Message of Jesus.  For more on developing your own leadership gifts, see Convergence Leadership Project.