Complacence. Ambivalence. Indifference.

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And the worst


of these in


management is . . .?


  • Complacence: Self-satisfaction, especially when accompanied by unawareness of actual dangers or deficiencies.
  • Ambivalence: Uncertainty as to which approach to follow.
  • Indifference: Of no importance or difference one way or the other. Unconcerned. Not caring.

     So which gets your vote for worst? If you think about it for more than two shakes of a lamb’s tail, you’d have to go with (Ta-Ta-Ta-Tah-Tah!): Indifference. After all, isn’t indifference the worst of all human traits on the emotional spectrum, management or otherwise?

     Granted, nobody likes a complacent boss. Is smug another way of saying this? And certainly an ambivalent boss is what my father would have called “a weak sister.” Not having confidence in the pursuit of a solution or innovative approach is generally the mark of a losing leader in any arena.

     We seem to grow up thinking that LOVE and HATE are opposites and we tend to pack our collective feelings up and move them to one side of the continuum line or the other: LOVE at one extreme end and HATE at the other extreme end. And all kinds of empty space in between. And, BTW, isn’t this also what politicians and governments and nations do as well?

     Incorrect weird interpretations we experience –even at a universal level– become so ingrained that they become the rule rather than the exception. We (The People) go about loving and hating and thinking that we are light years apart by every measure when — in reality– we are really VERY close indeed.

     How is that possible?

The true opposite of LOVE is not HATE. It is INDIFFERENCE. LOVE and HATE are actually quite close emotions.

The true opposite of HATE is not LOVE. It is INDIFFERENCE. HATE and LOVE are actually quite close emotions.

INDIFFERENCE is at the extreme far end of the emotional spectrum from both LOVE and HATE.


     So what? Who cares? What’s it matter in running a business? At an employee confrontation level, keep focused on the fact that what’s expressed as extreme opposite viewpoints are — all things considered — probably very close.

     Sometimes the boss needs only to point this out. A line drawn on paper with “always/in every case/extreme” positions marked at opposite ends of the line and two warring staffers asked to put an x on the line where they see themselves in relation to the two extremes. The distance between the two X’s is the area of disagreement, not the entire line. 

     Almost always, when disagreeing employees can physically see (on a line) that the differences they thought were astronomical, are truly only moderately significant, they are much more likely to work things out, to the betterment of themselves and the business.

     You don’t need to be a counselor, shrink or hand-holder to make this work. I’ve seen construction team foremen and deep-sea fishermen pull it off in less than one minute, and never lose a beat with the work at hand. Next time someone draws a line in the sand, have her or him show you the extremes and where exactly he or she stands. 

Comment below or Hal@BusinessWorks.US 

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One comment so far

One Comment to “Complacence. Ambivalence. Indifference.”

  1. […] That’s not as surprising a thought as you might think.  On the spectrum of emotions, “Hate” and “Love” are not at opposite ends.  In act, they are remarkably close to one another.  At the extreme opposite end from both of these emotions is “Indifference.”  […]

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