Leadership- Be Careful When You Get Out of the Box
The "disease" of self-deception (acting in ways contrary to what one knows is right) underlies all leadership problems in today's organizations, according to the premise of this work. However well-intentioned they may be, leaders who deceive themselves always end up undermining their own performance. This straightforward book explains how leaders can discover their own self-deceptions and learn how to escape destructive patterns. The authors demonstrate that breaking out of these patterns leads to improved teamwork, commitment, trust, communication, motivation, and leadership.
- a philosophical theory or approach which emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will.
Alas, if existentialism is your thing, you run the risk of deviating from common sense as defined by the group, whatever that group may be defined as, but in this case, I'll just replace the word group with society. In a democratic society, there are rules and restrictions designed to keep us safe, purposeful, and productive in the common good. So what if my existentialist friend's private logic doesn't fit the construct of the common good, and his feelings become words and actions that contradict it?
Words and actions have consequences. Existentialism, and its political cousin, neoliberalism, are perspectives that often deviate from the common good. I don't believe that the presence of so-called free will in contemporary society was ever meant to contravene the principle of the common good. If you believe as I do that everyone has a leadership role to play, no matter whether an official title or position is held, then we're sliding down a very slippery slope with our collective self-deceptions about the not-so-common-good things that are happening lately in alarming frequency.
All too often we see leaders across the spectrum of government, the corporate giants, and other organizations big and small taking a relativist approach to their leadership as a result of their personal self-deception. We see leaders in all shapes and sizes resigning to their self-deceptions. Ironically, when individuals who don't even think of themselves as leaders act on their self-deceptions, they all too often become de facto leaders to others who may share their version of private logic. If enough like-minded followers gather, then we get a group and they begin to feel the strength in numbers which bolsters their relativist views.
I believe society needs to revisit the idea behind the common good. We have mechanisms in society to act as checks and balances on behalf of the common good: laws, rules, guidelines; and ways to enforce them. I'm of the opinion we're just not taking the steps to uphold our checks and balances as quickly, or as often as we should.
I also believe that the common good is mostly a derivative of common sense. Perhaps it's time for every one of us to reflect on our role as a leader by finishing the following four statements.
The world is...,
Other people are...,
I don't know if doing so will prevent the radical, existentialist, relativist thinking of some, but that's why we have those checks and balances. I do believe, however, that the moderates who have been influenced by the vocal minority of radical thinking relativists may give their words and actions a second thought. That's my hopeful perspective.
I have to believe that the vast majority of people in the world, albeit entitled to think whatever they want also understand that there are some thoughts and feelings we just don't act on.
As my friend, Paul and I were commenting via Twitter recently,
You won't be disappointed if you pick up the new edition (2018) of Leadership and Self Deception- Getting Out of the Box. We need folks to be thinking differently during these stressful times we're living in, and we need everyone to give some thought regarding how their private logic is contributing to the common, or not-so-common good.
Believing that most people are mostly good most of the time has always been the outlook that helps me walk out the door and into the world every day.— Shamlet (@Shamlet) February 21, 2021