I have been in Australia for a few weeks and it’s been very interesting seeing an ‘outsider’s’ view of Brexit. According to one commentator Theresa May is in a poo sandwich. It wasn’t until I returned to non-stop streaming of Brexit that I realised how toxic the effect is on our mental health of something that is consuming our very existence.
In stress awareness month it has been reported that MPs are finding it difficult to take good decisions because of the stress of Brexit. (Ironically it’s not been similarly reported how the general population is also stressed because of it.) Putting aside the argument that this is a self-inflicted issue, let’s work backwards from the ‘good decisions’ dilemma.
For leaders to take good decisions requires good thinking: for the thinker to think beyond the immediate and question the assumptions that are being made by themselves as to the strictures and conditions being put upon them, or they put upon themselves. This cannot occur when you know you are going to be interrupted, when you view others’ thinking as inferior or superior to your own, when you know that others are not giving you their full attention.
And that’s the case in Parliament today. Instead of encouraging an environment in which you can think (as per Nancy Klein’s Thinking Environment) the leadership has instilled an environment where thinking has been stifled and ‘tribal’ allegiances and policies are paramount. Reinforced I have to say by fundamentalists on both the right and left of the political divide.
It’s interesting too that some MPs have broken away from the toxicity of that, sequestered themselves away to work across political ‘tribes’ in order to think through alternatives. They have shown a different type of leadership. I would posit that instinctively they’ve endeavoured to structure their discussions within a thinking environment. They would in all likelihood have shown respect for the other’s opinions and thoughts, waited for them to finish describing why they thought in the way they did and used the opportunity to stimulate generative thinking and solution finding.
In my practice in delivering #timetothink in a Thinking Environment, almost all describe feelings of calm and positivity about the next steps. Perhaps we should all embrace #timetothink to protect our own mental health whilst Brexit continues to dominate our lives. Who knows, we might even find something else to think about!
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Laura Murphy blogs about things that interest her. They might not interest you but read them anyway. It might even change your mind.