I know my zoologist friends are going to get angry at me for this one, but I’m pushing ahead regardless.
The phrase “burying one’s head in the sand” is based on the common misperception that an ostrich buries its head in the sand to hide from predators. While upon a second thought, this is completely ridiculous, nevertheless this is what we think of when people try to avoid hearing about problems.
Often, we don’t want to hear about problems because we don’t want to have to fix them, but when we don’t actively seek people who tell us the truth, even if it’s harsh, we surround ourselves with people too scared to say what they’re really noticing, and our culture suffers.
Toxicity builds from this opaqueness, good people leave, and we’re left with those too terrified of speaking up when something goes amiss.
The reason ostriches don’t bury their heads in the sand is simple – they’d suffocate themselves. The same logic applies to leaders and organizations – the more you want to bury your head, the more likely you’ll be taking one step further towards doom.
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