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Todd Kashdan: The Art of Insubordination


Todd Kashdan

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Kelly mixes things up with George Mason University professor Todd Kashdan to talk about his new book "The Art of Insubordination: How to Dissent & Defy Effectively."

Your book notes that dissent is essential in innovation or moving forward in history, but it’s really, really hard.

“We have an opinion that deviates from whoever we're hanging out with, it can be seven people at a table and we're the one of the seven that has a different political view. We say to ourselves, ‘I must be wrong because, why are the other six people thinking and the other way and do I want to risk my hide and be socially persecuted and rejected?’ And often, the answer to those questions is that people self-silence themselves.”

You also note that dissent is hard because of the mental toll it takes on our brains.

“I mean if you think about it, it's the beauty of having this conversation right now. You don't send me the questions in advance, and I have no idea how I'm going to respond. And that improvisational nature, we go into flow states, right? We're totally engaged. It feels effortless even though we're using a ton of cognitive activity. And these are the most memorable elements of your entire existence. They are the building blocks of a fulfilling life, and yet we forget that.”

I was blown away by your research about Psychological Safety – that it isn’t safe unless dissent is appreciated.

“If you have diverse people in the room, but you haven't extracted their diverse ideas and perspectives, if you don't allow dissent, then psychological safety has no benefit when it comes to creativity, performance, and decision making. And this is a very important element: that to what degree have you with your group allowed a minority of one voice to express their view and get a fair hearing for those views?”

For more on Todd:

Socials: @toddkashdan

Photo: Tim DeHart Photography

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