A Leader Reads [#100Days]

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The Great Hunt - Chapter 12 [#100Days, Day 43]

Persuasion & Guile

    Shortly after Rand, Ingtar and the others depart, the Amyrlin and her entourage leaves Fal Dara as well, taking Egwene and Nynaeve with her.  We again see Nynaeve's temper barely under control during a lesson with Verin Sedai.  When Nynaeve is on the verge of storming out of the lesson, Verin sets up a question to force Nynaeve's hand:

    "By any gauge," Verin cut in, "you are a woman grown, Nynaeve.  Usually, the younger a novice, the better she does.  Not with the training necessarily, but because a novice is expected to do as she is told, when she is told and without question.  It is really only of use once the actual training has reached a certain point - a hesitation in the wrong place then, or a doubt of what you have been told to do, can have tragic consequences - but it is better to follow the discipline all the time.  The Accepted, on the other hand, are expected to question things, as it is felt they know enough to know what questions to ask and when.  Which do you think you would prefer?"

Verin and Nynaeve, The Great Hunt, p. 175

    Verin neatly hits Nynaeve hard, comparing her behavior to a child and insinuating she lacks the intelligence to make decent decisions.  Then, Verin throws the option back to Nynaeve.  Instead of forcing Nynaeve to sit and stay against her will, the consequences of each option are presented, and the choice given back to Nynaeve - any negative reaction or negative consequences will be entirely of Nynaeve's own doing. 

    Getting people to adopt an external idea of their own accord is a hard skill to master.  It's much easier when it's a benign situation, without charged emotions like anger.  In the above situation, Verin had to present her argument in such a way that it was based entirely on the facts and give control of the decision to Nynaeve.  Any inkling that Verin was forcing Nynaeve's hand would have resulted in Nynaeve storming off.  Following a little further on that path, it, presumably, would have continued to Nynaeve becoming a novice, and resenting Verin (and by extension all Aes Sedai) for treating her like a child. 

    Getting team members to "choose their own adventure" makes them part of the solution.  Even if they odn't all like the direction, they can work towards a solution that does meet their concerns.  This gives them a stake in the implementation process - no one wants their ideas to fail, so they'll work hard to succeed.  It just takes the leader listening to their concerns and offering a choice.


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