A Loss of Perspective

Have you ever lost it?

I’ve just been to Stratford to see Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale – a great treat for an English graduate!  It’s a weird play, and almost completely unbelievable… but still…

King Leontes runs a pretty loose ship of a kingdom: lots of wine and ‘informal’ relationships.  He has a lovely wife whom he idolises; but then he starts to think she’s having an affair with his best friend.  It was a chance remark and a glimpse of contact – really, there was nothing to it.  But he fixes on it; and jealousy and rage turn him inwards.  He lashes out at his wife; her unborn child; his best friend; his chief counsellor, his kingdom… in the current setting at Stratford, he ends the first part of the play alone on top of a huge physical tower of jealousy, fear and grief, where no-one can reach him.

It’s what pressure can do to leaders.  It can be just one thing that goes wrong; but we lose perspective, and focus on that alone, and the world gets warped and twisted and remote; and the people around us stop trusting us, we turn inwards, become remote…

Of course, I think he could have done with a leadership coach.  Maybe if he’d thought a bit more about how he was leading when times were good, he’d have had a better perspective.

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