Following our Practical Communicator story about Doug, let’s look at another type of communicator~ the Fiery Communicator. If you are old enough, you may remember the story of the Soviet (now present day Russia) Premier Nikita Khrushchev. Apparently, present day Americans aren’t the only ones cringing under the flying ash of an erupting volcano.
On October 12th 1960, the head of the Filipino delegation to the United Nations, Sumulong, described “the peoples of Eastern Europe and elsewhere which have been deprived of the free exercise of their civil and political rights and which have been swallowed up, so to speak, by the Soviet Union.” Fiery communicators have a very definite red line and when they cross that, watch out. And this sentence sent Khrushchev up and over that line. It is said that he “demonstratively, in a theatrical manner, brushed Sumulong aside, with an upward motion of his right arm—without physically touching him—and began a lengthy denunciation of Sumulong, branding him (among other things) as “a jerk, a stooge, and a lackey”, and a “toady of American imperialism” and demanded Assembly President call Sumulong to order.”
After being forced to listen to more anti-Soviet talk, and banging his fist (some say until his watch broke) Nikita finally took his shoe and began banging it on the desk…at the United Nations, the world’s peace keeping organization. Hmm, makes you wonder, huh?
What you would have witnessed, had you been there, was a true fiery communicator in action. Loud words of disparagement, dramatic displays of emotion, physical and often aggressive acts of intimidation used to communicate one’s opinions. Later, Khrushchev was reported to have said this about Americans which adds the final bit to fiery communicators~ threats.
“You Americans are so gullible. No, you won’t accept communism outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of socialism until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism. We won’t have to fight you. We’ll so weaken your economy until you’ll fall like overripe fruit into our hands.”
Fiery communicators do have a flare for the dramatic, a passion for leading, a way of communicating across language barriers that disputes misunderstanding. They can burn things up, move through things and eliminate the unnecessary. In their best, they can lead others to new ways of being, help people let go of the past and bring a conversation to its authentic and honest place. Like a wildfire, sometimes we need the old to be burned down to make room for a new forest of thought or experience.
So instead of threats, using their natural panache, a fiery communicator can greatly empower others, speak with such authority that others accept it as truth. Instead of words of disparagement, they can uplift and inspire. Instead of bullying and berating, fiery communicators are positioned to empower, lead, set an example, be a role model of great integrity. Think of Teddy Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln. They both had many things to say, and did not beat around the bush, but were able to hold people up to a higher expectation.