Any of you enjoy The Theatre? I know I do. Shakespeare is touted as the master. Yes, he captures the attention and holds it. But as I moved through seeing or reading his plays, whether drama, comedy, or tragedy, there is one thing they all have in common. It’s the same story line. There is the villain (what good story doesn’t have someone to hate?). There is the hero and the heroine who get totally confused and blomoxed by the villain’s machinations. There are the hapless and the stalwart colleagues who move the hero/heroine pawns along on their path to the outcome. And the audience becomes rapt in the horridness of the villain but ever clinging to (usually) him to see what will happen next, how he will wrap the thread of intrigue even tighter about the H&H’s necks.
After a while, it becomes obvious that all of the characters are the puppets of the villain. Even the audience gets threaded into the fabric of the play because they simply cannot tear themselves away. They stay riveted to their seats. They cringe with ire; they hold their breath with anticipation. No matter what, they keep watching and urge others to watch with them. The audience grows.
We’re approaching Fall recruiting conference time. There are some venues that will do what they can to draw attendees based on the high quality information and presenters they will have at their venue. They boast of the great connections you’ll be able to make by coming to their conference and expo.
There are other venues that have been attempting the Shakespearean approach to attracting attendees with a touch of the traditional thrown in for good measure so that the tactic doesn’t blare like a police interrogation room lamp. There’s the ill informed who spouts off all of the time on every subject and rankles the sensibilities of everyone who passes by the name. How they would love to avoid this person. But like the villain in the plays, the person cannot be ignored. There’s just one more look at what they’ve said just to see, perhaps, if they’ve said something that actually makes sense or whether they’ve been consistent and ethical in their stance. There’s the desire to see whether something is said that is not self-effacing in some way.
This latter tactic works. Who says we have to offer quality anything when there’s this Shakespearean play running in the background all of the time. It draws good site traffic. And when conference time comes along, it’s worth it to attend just to see whether all of the players are there and what sort of drama they’ll provide during conference — live and in person.
The trouble is, these are such cheap shots that they should be seen for what they are by the average anyone. The trouble is, they are seen for what they are, even if it is a subconscious recognition. But the purported minor characters are there to spur the action and draw the audience back into the machinations of the play. The arguments are fueled by the ragings and bombastic logic spouted by the minor characters (don’t let their positions fool you; they’re in no way minor characters). And there’s just enough logic that you nod your head and say “Yes, that’s right,” as the conversations and arguments evolve.
These dramas happen in many milleu — the family, workplace, clubs and organizations, online communities. Good leadership will nip it in the bud lest the bile overflows and poisons the environment, turning one upon the other where there could be cooperation and growth. Good leadership will let everyone in on the fact that it’s simply pretend play. Good leadership will not savor the growth and the price that’s paid for it. Strong leadership takes subsuming other things that we think are important in deference to the health of the whole.
Step back for a moment. Ask yourself why are these conversations and arguments happening? If they’re running against the grain of what the site rules discourage, why do these things occur? And if it’s the same, or nearly, characters in nearly every situation, why are they allowed this continuous role? Someone is gaining a tremendous benefit from these dramatizations. And in that case, check the backs of your hands, top of your head, and so on. There may be some strings attached to them. In fact, you just may be one of the puppet characters being manipulated by the play’s villain.
Need some scissors?