Opinion | Ted Konnerth: Mitigating emotions and managing expectations | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Ted Konnerth: Mitigating emotions and managing expectations

Ted Konnerth

When I started my own executive recruitment firm, I was enthralled with the opportunity to help people find a better job and life and, at the same time, meet our clients’ expectations with attracting a qualified, effective leader. Over the 19 years I managed the firm, we endured three recessions, 9/11 and the inevitable vicissitudes of life, as seen through the eyes of talent assessment.

Changing jobs is one of the top five most stressful events in a person’s life. According to University Hospitals, the top five most stressful events, in order, are: death of a family member, divorce, moving, illness, and job loss or change.

Part of our presentation to a new client would be focused on managing expectations and mitigating emotions. It was key in everything we did from asking a person to quit their job and move across the country and start a new life, to asking our clients to meet someone who was a bit off-center on their specifications for the role and trust us that we were able to recognize the potential of that candidate to succeed in their company. Hiring is just as emotional as interviewing, and the expectations on both sides are equally magnified by the formality of the interview and hiring process.

In these current times, I try to imagine how our politics could benefit from these two ideas.

Mitigating emotions

This could solve 90% of our current political problems overnight! Let’s agree to stop calling people names. Let’s agree to the basics of civility to encourage active deliberations and ensure we hear rational, reasoned arguments for and against the specific legislation. The Senate has been called the most deliberative institution in the world, so why is the Senate chamber basically empty? And how do you deliberate from opposite sides of a chamber? Why doesn’t Congress randomly assign seats regardless of political party?

Historically, congressional members were relatively social with one another, often meeting after hours for dinners or cocktails. Collegiality has merits that lead to understanding another person’s views and maybe inviting some reasonableness to compromise and find a better way forward.

When you get to know people, your emotions tend to fade away, and that leads to actions that are accommodative or — even better — cooperative.

Managing expectations

I imagine the day when both political parties start their process of an annual legislative agenda with a simple list of the key issues or problems that legislation will redress: infrastructure repair, improved health care for all citizens, fair taxation, social equality or business incentives.

But the key to managing expectations in a political environment is to agree that everything you do must have a basis in fact. We’ve unfortunately thrown truth under the rug, and we must find a way back to honesty or democracy will fail all of us. I want to see a restatement that facts become the absolute requirement for news, which includes a broader definition of media. Print, broadcast and social media need to be reined in by truth.

Decades ago, every TV and radio broadcast had to be factual to retain its license to broadcast, and now entire networks and social media sites are delivering their own curated version of the facts while posing as news.

Trump was credited with more than 30,000 lies or misstatements by fact checkers, according to a report by The Washington Post. How does that shape the country, our kids, our neighbors, our customers and our relationships?

I believe most of us are honest and friendly and open to one another. If you feel the same way about social media claims and outright fake news outlets that deny science, vaccines and more, then let’s all just say it’s time to get back to America: honest, truthful and kind.

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