Leadership Moment: Thanksgiving Dinner
For many of my readers, today will be a day when you sit down with extended family and friends and share a Thanksgiving meal. There are many reasons to feel gratitude on this day, even if not everything is right in our world. But Thanksgiving is arguable most centered around gratitude for family: the people we are sitting down with around the table.
Unfortunately, Thanksgiving is also a time when those family members find the reasons we don’t agree with each other year round: politics. Whether it’s our stereotypical crazy uncle or the activist millennial or whomever, we don’t talk to each other through the year for a reason: because there are things on which we do not agree, and we’re not going to change that in a few hours.
No matter the subject of the argument, in this moment, you have a leadership choice: to inflame an argument that will only wound the community in this moment, or to avoid engaging in conversations that have no point. And if you have a family member who persists in choosing to pick fights: remember that every conversation is performed in front of the audience of the rest of the family. Do you want them to remember that you were a problem, or that you were the one trying to minimize the problem?
Happy Thanksgiving, y’all!
One Minute Pro Tip: Nod and Move On
Have you ever been in a conversation where, no matter what you said, your interlocutor had a ready made argument that aimed to make you feel like you were losing? This is a form of kafkatrap: a term coined by Eric S. Raymond, in reference to a Franz Kafka novel, in which every argument in defense is evidence of guilt. The person you’re arguing with is often enjoying the process of the argument, and has often planned long an hard for every argument you might make.
As humans we often want to win arguments, but sometimes, to quote Joshua, “The only winning move is not to play.” There are a lot of ways to deflect a conversation you don’t agree with without affirming it (“mmm-hmmm, that’s interesting. Can you pass the turkey? Ooh, is this Gold Bark seasoning?”). But the aim is to nod and move on. You win the conversation by depriving it of oxygen.
Nov 14: Defense vs Resilience: A Secops Dilemma, Hunters Con
Nov 15: How to Build and Measure a Corporate Security Program, CERIAS Seminar Series
Blog: A Response to Harvard Faculty (on Harvard’s Antisemitism Policy)
Dec 11-13: CyberMarketingCon (Two talks: Stop Destroying Value, and 9 Answers Your CISO Prospect Needs)
Chapter Cameo: Liking Your Team
Chapter 27 of 1% Leadership (Your job isn’t to like your team – it’s to not dislike them) is one of the most relevant to leading within families. After all, while you can easily part ways with employees you don’t like, it’s a lot harder to do so with family members. Sometimes, the best you can do tactically is reduce opportunities to increase any dislike that might exist.