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Legislated Optimism: A Worst “Best” Practice

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Legislated optimism is the purview of the one-way leader. When optimism is legislated, meetings produce more nothing than something. Ideas die without a funeral or proper burial. Communication is primarily from the leader to everyone else. The reverse is not valued, not welcomed, because the leader and his or her inner circle of advisers know best.

And the message is always upbeat. Information is presented with a coat of whitewash and abracadabra laid over it, as if leaders would have us believe they’ve sent all the Death Eaters flying. Naysayers will be sent to Azkaban.

In a culture of legislated optimism, leaders know only the sound of one hand clapping. They ask questions not because they want answers, but because they want to hear how they sound asking them or because they are trying to create the illusion of inclusion.

In this environment, conclusions are reached at the point when everyone stops thinking, which is often short of brilliant.  The leaders have already done the thinking for us and have called it good. No point in telling them what we’re actually dealing with every day, since to do so would not be a career- enhancing move.

And this is a shame because our first thoughts, unfiltered, uncensored, are usually on to something. We may not even know how or why we know what we know, but we do know, and these thoughts are usually the most true, most honest, yet all too often the courage to capture and voice them fails us.

Do you have legislated optimism in your life? Where?


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