Thinking out of the box

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Intrigued by the title for some time, this book came highly recommended by my colleague Lamija Aleckovic, ex- Executive producer at Aljazeera Balkans, one of the first boss ever who could easily to handle all different challenges in the Newsroom, such as a breaking news. My first impression of her attitude toward all of 150 colleagues was “thinking out of the box” in professional but also in private life.

“Success as a leader depends on being free of self-betrayal and creating an environment of openness, trust and teamwork, where people work hard for the collective good, not individual accomplishments. “ Arbinger Institute.

Just seeing a title was enough to remember all days from beginning of broadcasting when I could feel impatience and electricity in the air. My boss always brought a smile on her face, while on charming and polite way she was trying to stay focus on important pieces of the news hour. Usually she was standing in front of her computer, looking around newsroom and answered at all silly questions such as “ where is a paper in the printer”. We felt protected and secured in her tiny but strong editor’s arms. Why I felt just than like that. I found an answer in my leadership book “ Leadership and self-deception: thinking out of the box”, written by Arbinger Institute.

When I took book from our Humphrey suite, I was looking for a simple recipe how I could start to think outside the box. And answer is pretty simple: “Look at people as a people, not as a objects”

But let’s start from beginning.

“We define self-deception as not knowing – and resisting the possibility – that one has a problem Arbinger Institute

So, what is self-deception? Author suggested when we act in ways that are contrary to what we believe is right and appropriate, especially in our relationships, we are engaging in self-deception. Now it is true, we can deceive ourselves in many ways. We can make promises to change our behavior that we never keep, we can deny our own self-destructive habits and rationalize choices that betray our inner truths.  But relational self-deception is particularly common and can become habitual if we’re not self-aware. In my language we used a lot slogan: “People are a slave of their habits”. In other word we often develop beliefs that people and events are the root cause of our actions, we blame others for our actions and as a result we lie to ourselves. If we follow an inertia, instead of our passion, we jumped into the box.  Daily routine keeps us into the box.

In the box we played against our values. Staying in the box of our fears, thoughts, dreams allows us to feel justified in terms of our thoughts and behavior, blaming others for everything and anything. Each person then provokes the other and like a well-choreographed dance, we have the “dance of the boxes.” My first boss at Aljazeera did not see her team through the filter of self-deception, because if she did , she would most likely see us as the problem and try to change ours behavior

Author suggested that each helps to create the very problems they blame the other for and justifies a reason for staying in the box. But back to my story from beginning, each person, no matter is he or she boss, housekeeper, mother or kid, could help other to see ourselves in their eyes in a new way.

When you start to think that others are your mirror, you fill find a way to get out of the box.  In-the-box problem-solving approach guarantee failure because all efforts, communications, conflict and relationships can not be fixed before you, as a human-being, work on yourself, your approach, your behavior, your view at others and this world.

An emotional moment in relationships with others keep us climbing from the box. What getting out of the box and sustaining out-of-box experiences boils down to is empathy. My first executive editor would always find a time for small talk, encouragement, her values were responsibility and loyalty. However. Even today, when we are in the different company I fell her support. She sees people as a people, and that is the best way to treat your family, friends and colleagues.