The media turns issues into black and white. Social media revenue optimization algorithms do the same.

Fear sells.

Extreme points of view get attention. Love it or hate it… you’re paying attention (and generating advertising revenue for the publisher or social media platform).

The most accurate forecasters do not end up with TV airtime. The ones who keep people paying attention do.

However, real life (as opposed to how real life is portrayed) is infinitely more complex and nuanced.

In a struggling marriage, there isn’t one spouse who’s right and one who’s wrong. (They both think they’re right.)

In a war, there aren’t the “good guys” and the “bad guys.” Both sides think they’re the good guys and the other country is the bad guy.

Nuanced understanding cannot be grasped in a television sound bite, a meme, or a tweet.

Grasping subtleties requires understanding and comprehension.

This takes both time and effort.

Very few people bother to take the time or make the effort.

This leaves a gap… a gap you can fill.

This is what leaders (and especially thought leaders) do.

They make sense of a complicated issue and help guide others through a course of action that’s productive and effective.

You know you grasp the nuances when you can inject yourself in the middle of a controversial issue and argue every faction’s point of view better than they can.

When you can do that, each group sees you as “one of them.”

If you can articulate the finance department’s concerns better than they can, you’re trusted by those in that department.

If you can articulate the concerns that engineering has better than they can, they trust that you grasp the key issues (as they see them).

If you can articulate the sales team’s objections better than they can, they too will perceive you as someone who understands their concerns.

This is how you lead.

It isn’t the only way to lead, but it is a very effective way to do so.

The nuances… they matter.

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