We are all familiar with the term “fake news.” We know it started at a specific time in 2016 during the US presidential election season and became a sort of official term on January 11, 2017, when Donald Trump, who had already been elected, denied Jim Costa, a reporter for CNN “, The answer to a question and amended,” You are fake news”.
The term may be recent, but the meaning of its definition is not. Fake news is a timeless attempt to defeat an opponent by slandering him with lies. This is done from the careful distribution of false information, unfounded rumors, and unconfirmed rumors in order to undermine the reputation and credibility of the opponent.
This strategy has been used throughout human history by a considerable number of people in positions of power or in the process of reaching it, whether in politics, wars or the corporate world.
However, due to modern technology (the internet, social media, computers and smartphones), fake news has become part of our lives. And with the experience of social, cognitive, and behavioral psychologists, fake news are made to be seen, heard and felt in the most realistic way possible within the limits of the lie itself.
As a result, tens of millions of users have proved incapable of distinguishing “fake news” from real facts. This is not only in politics, but also in health, finance, religion, and business.
Needless to say, this is a legitimate emergency. The courses of democracy, society, and economy can not be allowed to be guided by lies. So how do the leaders of the corporate world deal with an environment where fake news is allowed to thrive?
1. Leaders should promote a culture of truthfulness, responsibility, and wisdom.
In states more committed and of greater weakness (depression, anxiety, anger, shame, etc.), anyone can be seduced by the obscure urge to spread and believe rumors as a way to free their emotions, achieve some kind of unsuccessful claim or Distract people’s attention. In the workplace, these practices pollute the climate, damage relationships, and undermine performance.
This makes a culture-based incentive based on truthfulness, responsibility, and judgment crucial to business leaders. In this culture, people are grateful for honesty, transparency, hard work, teamwork and the kind of relationship that results from these actions. In addition, the inherent wisdom is developed to fight the temptation to lie to ourselves and others whenever we face challenging circumstances and goals.
In such an environment, professionals are also more likely to develop essential managerial skills, such as checking the fact, obtaining evidence, arguing in a logical and common sense, everything related to high performance, brand value and consumer loyalty.
2. Leaders should ensure that their team develops critical thinking as a core competency
Since humans believe in something, tilting in another direction is extremely difficult. We can blame human cognitive simplicity, which finds it easier to believe in something than to be skeptical of it. Or we can blame our discomfort with cognitive dissonance, which makes it painful for us to keep two conflicting thoughts at the same time.
It is also possible to blame the intense human habit of taking their point of view, seeking ways to reassert their beliefs when they are questioned even without evidence.
In order to increase human understanding on any subject, solve complex problems, and achieve challenging goals, it is necessary to have
the ability to transcend the aforementioned trends.
You have to learn to question yourself, your beliefs, your habits and your reality. This means developing the ability to double-check information, search for evidence, set personal biases aside, and put all of your findings to the test, based on logic and common sense.
To do this, leaders need to make sure that their teams are developing critical thinking skills such as:
– Understand the connections between ideas based on facts and logic;
– Identify errors and inconsistencies in reasoning;
– Address issues consistently and systematically;
– Reflect on the justifications of their assumptions, beliefs, and values;
– Design, articulate and evaluate arguments based on all the mentioned items.
This is the only way for companies to remain focused and efficient in a world bombarded with lies and so-called “alternative facts.”
3. Leaders should pay particular attention to young people
A 2016 Stanford University study showed that young people (especially high school and college students) are the most difficult to discern content sponsored by groups with certain interests or affected by political trends.
In addition, considering specific tests administered in the study, it was possible to conclude that these youngsters have trouble detecting obvious manipulations of crucial factors in the branches of science, history, and politics.
The internet, search services, computers, and smartphones have reshaped society. In theory, there is a lot of information available, new and better tools for working more efficiently and effectively.
However, these same tools have created a culture of immediacy and impatience that directly impede the development of a discipline in the workplace, attention to detail, and critical thinking skills needed to solve complex problems and achieve challenging goals.
By hiring young people, business leaders are not only hiring less experienced employees but also workers with a different world view, with strengths and weaknesses that need to be mapped and understood.
With this in mind, if the generations X and Y work together to help leverage the strengths and improve the weak, it will be possible to eradicate the fake news epidemic and the culture of immediacy before the Z and Alpha generations hit the market.