communication

The Silent Majority Can Make A Difference

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We seem to live our lives with a daily stream of racial, gender or religious bias. Catch the news any time and even on slow days, there’ll be some story that pits one group against another. Some outrage. Justified or not. There’s always something to get our collective anger riled.
Social media has made it easy for people to show their true colors across the world in a single tweet. And, it’s allowed us to respond moments later. All of us can sit behind a keyboard delivering whatever we think is just. We are all now judge and jury.

I wish things were different in some way. But, the truth is from time immemorial bigotry toward people who are deemed to be “different” (race, language, etc.) has permeated. It may seem more amplified now because of social media, but it’s always been there.

There have always been people who feel threatened because they don’t understand – or want to understand. To some, every one who is not like them presents a menace. In their minds, it all translates into challenges to their way of life or how they see the world. They deem difference as a threat against their values, their way of thinking, their way to make money, etc.

How far from true!

The Drivers

While I don’t have the solution to this abhorrent behavior, allow me to make some points in the hopes that it may help the conversation. Worldwide the incidents of racism, sexism and religious intolerance are so numerous that it seems to have always been a way of life.

Some intolerant individual does something outrageous and all of us demand and deliver our own brand of justice in the news and across social media. It’s a cycle that repeats unendingly.

Bigotry and division have been accepted. It doesn’t end and it doesn’t go away because we can’t eliminate the main drivers, fear and hate. Although I can probably speak the most about the United States because I have lived there for a long time, it’s disheartening to hear about the struggles that continue.

Recently, 9 people were murdered in a place of worship. When people are killed in what should be one of the safest places, a place of prayer, what else should be expected other than to think racism is ingrained?

Hatred doesn’t have a place in society. It robs us of everything dear and valued to us. People are robbed of their dreams and futures. Why does this have to exist? Is it because someone decided at one point in time that this is the way to be and that’s the status quo? Is it nature or nurture? I have to think most or all children are not born with hatred, bigotry or fear. These are learned behaviors. Someone has to instill fear into a child. Someone has to tell a child that another person who is black, or a girl or of a different religion is “bad”.

According to hate mongers, anyone who does not conform to the preconceived way of life needs to be looked upon with disdain. To them, everything that was not part of what they were brought up to believe is a threat to their life.

Gladiators In The Arena

In 2015, people should be more accepting. And, we need to do this directly by targeting the motivating forces of fear and hate.

We have conquered space and still can’t conquer ourselves and how we behave toward others. I believe that everybody should have the same opportunities in life no matter what his or her skin color, gender preference, affiliation, religion, etc. This world should not be a world for the few, the blue blooded, the “entitled” who reside in “bubbles” safe and sound while the rest of us fight it out as unruly crowds or gladiators in the arena. Unfortunately, many of us believe this is simply the way things are.

I don’t believe in violence in any way, shape or form. I believe in social justice and social good. The hard question is how can we achieve it? One step is by voicing our opinions; by making our opinions heard. The other is by directly addressing and talking about the tough stuff, the hate and drilling that down to the fear.

The Voice Of The Silent Majority

I was guilty of being a member of the silent majority. I was busy all of the time and I let things pass. But a friend brought this to my attention and I listened. Those who are discriminated against cannot do it alone. They need to have allies. We need to make our collective voice heard. We need to say we are sick and tired of injustice and lost opportunities because some of us happen not belong to the “right” group or class. There’s no such thing as the “right” group or class. We’re all human.

We need to engage and talk about it – no matter how difficult. But not entirely from our Facebook or Twitter feeds. We need to talk about it in person. We need to talk about it with our friends. We need to talk about it in the cafes. We need to talk about it with our loved ones and children. We need to create safe spaces to discuss the fear and start to work through the rot.

Tell people “no” to bigotry of any kind. “Yes” to equality for all. “Yes” to opportunities for everyone. “Yes” to hope. The world can be a better place if we allow it and all of us do our part in bringing all sides together.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: July 13, 2015

© 2015 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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15 Traits of a Good Leader

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In my life I had the privilege to work for a few good people with great leadership skills and I also realized that in the midst of it all, I came across some managers with practically no skills, who happen to be in their positions for reasons unbeknownst to me (eg. right connections at the right time, etc). The problem for them was they either failed to realize or were in denial about their lack of skills. This resulted in the team(s) they led failing to produce the expected results since the leadership vision and the right goals were not there from the beginning. It never stops amazing me how some organizations operate with so many basic principles not in place.

But, let us talk about some of the main traits of effective leaders and what organizations should aspire to when they are looking to fill a position, whether promoting from within or looking outside the organization for talent.

1) Confidence – A leader should exude an air of confidence. They should come across as being experienced and knowing how to handle the position as well as the people entrusted to them.

2) Vision – They should be able to show their teams where they’re going, why they need to get there and how they’re going to achieve it through goal setting and the right strategy.

3) Effective Communication – They should be able to get their message through clearly and in a timely manner to both the people they manage as well as to their higher-ups.

4) Honesty – They should come across as genuine and honest in their communication and how they relate to everyone. People can understand easily if leaders mean what they say or are going through the motions as part of the job requirements.

5) Inspiration – Great leaders should be able to motivate employees through inspiration. A leader should get the team(s) interested toward the common goal. People always need that extra push to reach their potential especially when life and other tasks interfere.

6) Fearlessness – A leader should be fearless. Most times in life things do not go as planned. Life happens, unexpected scenarios occur and the right person should be able to handle pressure and stress well and not let distractions or interruptions get in their way.

7) Focus – A leader should always have the eye on the task at hand. No matter what happens, he or she must be able to be organized and handle anything head-on and leading by example.

8) Effective Delegation – A leader should be able to conceive the idea at a high level and delegate accordingly to the respective team members the ways to contribute towards its completion.

9) Creativity – A leader should be creative coming up with ideas and alternatives, thinking outside the box and having the innate intuition to act on something at the right time.

10) Fairness – Not coming across as a know-it-all individual. A leader should be able to give credit to the members of the team for a job well done.

11) Respect – By being respectful of employees, a leader will earn their respect.

12) Flexibility – A good leader will be open minded and adaptable to changes. In the business world as well in life everything is in constant flux. Everything changes. In addition be able to tweak existing strategy, recalibrating and adjusting accordingly is a necessary, without missing a beat.

13) Responsibility – Learn from mistakes and accept responsibility without passing the blame to others. The team realizes that the person in charge is human and this individual should have the humility to declare that something was wrong and is reevaluating by redesigning and building better alternative options and efficiencies.

14) Positiveness – An effective leader should be positive and enthusiastic. Always starting a meeting with something positive to say and not constantly warning and reprimanding people.

15) Empathy – Last but not least, a good leader should show that the person cares for the team genuinely. Setting time for employee suggestions and issues. In addition, when things are going according to plan, a good leader should acknowledge that and offer some measure of reward.

Please don’t forget to follow my blog at Life on Your Terms and like my Facebook Page.

Posted: April 28, 2014

© 2014 Savas Vikos all rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Savas Vikos with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.