“Clarity and strength of purpose help establish competence, and compel others to engage. They do not commit you to inflexibility but do establish your desire to engage.” (Pearce & Komisar, 2013, p. 88)
A disaster I remember occurred at the time I was living at the orphanage. The largest proportions of radioactive radiation were let outside the nuclear power plant which has exploded in Chernobyl, the city that was one of the most powerful centers of USSR at that time, until the accident occurred. It is funny how just one day can bring down everything that someone has worked on for years and decades, but I guess that some circumstances don’t give out to being controlled.
As we knew what was going on, but no one would explain what exactly was going on in our country, we had to settle with bits of unclear information. One day I was sitting in front of the television, when one cartoon began. I sat and my attention was caught by drawn colorful characters, but I saw something different from what I expected:
A little boy was observing his father as his dad was rapidly losing all of his hair, with barely clear narration in the back. What I didn’t know was that hundreds of people were contaminated with harmful radiation, missing the picture of chaos, disaster and lost lives. Thousands of people were mobilized, but there were lots of them who already suffered graver consequences than losing all of their hair. It was only later that I knew what kind of disaster Chernobyl has been through.
When snow would start falling, I would think that all misfortunes are covered up and extinct, not being able to return once the white gown melts in the spring. December was like every fairy tale we were listening about would come to life, becoming reality, intoxicating our senses with warmth and joy.
The clarity of the message is found in its details. The information about Chernobyl was incomplete and unclear. It became evident that the lack of details led to the unfortunate consequences for the people. Later, after finding out the truth, this led people to lose trust in their leaders. Hundreds and thousands were affected by this disaster, and it was all because the message about the disaster and its consequences were not communicated to the people of Chernobyl with clarity.
I realize that every message that is communicated with no “clarity and strength” has its consequences. Those consequences are often emotional and do not enable the leader to lead. The emotional connection link is broken, and the competency and credibility of his message does not exist.
Pearce, T., & Komisar, R. (2013). Leading Out Loud: A Guide for Engaging Others in Creating the Future (3d Edition ed.). San Francisco, California: Jossey-Bass.