“Apathy produces control, and control produces apathy.”
– Kenneth Cloke, author of Mediating Dangerously
Apathy is a powerful form of resistance because there is nothing to grasp onto, much like indifference is more dehumanizing than outright conflict. Apathy can leave supervisors, parents, spouses, and leaders pulling their hair out trying to figure out what to do. Employees, students, children use it quite effectively to gain control when they are afraid, feel victimized, or see no other avenue to get their needs met.
The common response to apathy is increased control. Which only produces more apathy. Authoritarian tactics, nagging, sarcastic jabs, guilt, and power plays are drama and generate apathy because those on the receiving end feel demeaned, dehumanized, and “set up” to fail. “What’s the point?” they ask.
The antidotes to Apathy and Control are Engagement and Empowerment.
These are achieved through workplaces, families, and communities that practice compassionate accountability with the skills of openness, resourcefulness, and persistence. These environments support safe expression of feelings, curious exploration of possibilities, and consistent commitment to seeing tasks, people, and relationships through.
It’s time to let go, get connected, and bring your people to life!
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