Issues of communication – UkraineJanuary 24, 2015
President Poroshenko has been the Ukrainian president for 8 months or so. Enough time to watch a man under great stress communicate with the world and his people alike and have formed some opinion based on the empirical evidence produced.
In a far from academic way, the “Parent”, “Adult”, “Child” communication model will loosely form the basis of what is to be written.
As the international statesman, President Poroshenko has done a reasonable job of keeping Ukraine and the issues it is facing in the media – helped sadly by a number of headline-grabbing horrendous incidents along the way. On a peer to peer basis he seems capable and comfortable. Both necessary for a head of state, and particularly so when trying to drum up international political support, external financing and security assistance where ever it may be found. Reasonably high marks.
However, when it comes to the Ukrainian constituency and domestic communication, President Poroshenko, Prime Minister Yatseniuk and Cabinet, are failing somewhat. There is an imbalance between “Parent – Child” leadership and leadership rhetoric, and “Adult to Adult” communication and explanation on the domestic front.
As politicians, there is a natural default to the “Parent Ego” that proclaims to be both worldly and experienced, therefore speaking critically of anything that does not match their learned view of the world. Alternatively, and sometimes simultaneous, there is the caring, nurturing and protecting impulses of the “Parent Ego” in times of difficulty, challenge or set-back.
There is also, sadly, a good deal of post-Soviet (dreary and prolonged) monologue in evidence far too often.
It would be wrong to suggest that the Ukrainian leadership do not require to assume the “Parent Ego” of course. Particularly when there are elements within Ukrainian society that have clearly adopted the emotional, occasionally irrational, and insubordinate elements of the “Child Ego”, not discounting those also too lazy to think for themselves and simply adopt/adapt themselves to the wishes of those around them – The “Sheeple”.
However, after the events of 2014, and what is going to be a very difficult and testing 2015 (and onward), what is missing from the political class in the quantity and quality needed to match the demands of swathes of Ukrainian society, is far more “Adult to Adult” communication. Generally, this large section of the Ukrainian constituency behave rationally, looking for the best outcomes and try to find the most effective way to achieve it. They think things out, rather than repeat past lessons or acting purely on emotion.
It is the “Adult” section of the community that the President, Prime Minister and Cabinet will rely upon to maintain traction within the nation toward declared goals. It is the “Adult constituency” they will rely upon to be resilient to Kremlin pressure and domestic political failings. It is the “Adult” they will rely upon to poor oil upon turbulent domestic waters to maintain societal cohesion in times of great flux and mountainous challenges.
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” – Aristotle
Yet there is very little “Adult to Adult” communication from President, Prime Minister or Cabinet. Whilst the challenges are clearly identifiable within the enormously inflated and endless rhetoric, there are no explanations as to the options available, why a specific option was chosen over another, how long solutions will take to appear, or when the effects of their implementation will be felt.
The Ukrainian “constituency Adult” is not stupid. They are the millions of rational thinkers that search and arrive at solutions for reaching best possible outcomes. They question policy, strategy, tactics and timeliness. Indeed, the Ukrainian “constituency Adult” is far more democratically advanced and has progressed far further than the Ukrainian “political Adult” – to the point whereby the “constituency Adult” will now either drag the “political Adult” along with it – or eventually it will leave what currently constitutes the Ukrainian “political Adult” behind in fairly short order.
There is a noticeable lack of “Adult to Adult” conversation, and increasingly critically – explanation.
A growing requirement for the “political Adult” to engage in rhetoric-free, reality based conversations and explanations with the “constituency Adult” is clear. The question is whether these conversations will occur before the “constituency Adult” takes on the role of “constituency Parent” forcing the “political Adult” to become “political Child” (again), or the “Adults” simply divorce.
The Ukrainian “political Adult” has a lot of catching up to do with the Ukrainian “constituency Adult” – it will only be granted the time to do so via conversation and explanation.