Learning to pull
Why is there so much pushing of employees to learn new skills, use new tools and access new resources?
Because most people have only had cognitive apprenticeships in how to push. They are unfamiliar with how to pull for others and to create interest without pushing the product. Of course the pushy people would not give you that answer. They'd say whatever they are pushing is for the good of the individual and the collective endeavor in some way. They may be thinking their pushing is legitimate because it will yield increased revenue, profits, efficiencies, competitiveness, quality or some other benefit.
What difference does it make to pull for someone instead of push them into something?
The person on the receiving end senses the difference immediately. The relationship is enhanced whether we are pulling for the learners or pulling for the creatives. Pulling yields more commitment, trust, buy-in and motivation. Pushing has the reverse effect: less commitment, trust, etc. Pushing breeds resistance, cynicism, defensive rationalizations and avoidance tactics.
Why are cognitive apprenticeships in pushing so common?
Pushing takes no imagination, empathy or reciprocity. It's something the left brain can do on its own. Pushing is extremely linear, rational and methodical. There's nothing cyclical, chaotic or paradoxical about it. Also, our techno-rational societies are predicated on pushing: the industrial paradigm and the factories for diplomas, surgeries and every other mass-produced merchandise -- all confirm the legitimacy of pushing people. There's a consensus trance that favors pushing to get what you want -- that is hard to escape.
Why is it so difficult to learn to pull from others who are doing it now?
When someone has empathy for those getting pushed, it's difficult to articulate where those impressions came from. When there are insights into how something could come about by letting go, being indirect or not-pushing for it, they are not straightforward explanations. The thinking about pulling gets into the complexity of subtle influences, shared contexts, implied messages and cyclical dynamics. Pulling deeply involves the right brain that relies on imagery, symbols and patterns rather than logic, language and methodical sequences.