I woke up this morning disturbed at the subtlety of self-delusion. The trouble with delusion is illusion.
What do you call someone who believes they’re:
- Supportive but demanding, instead.
- Humble but in reality, arrogant.
- Listening when they’re talking.
- Able to do everything “right” while others fall short.
- Informed when they don’t know.
You call them deluded leaders.
Deluded leaders falsely believe intentions automatically translate into behaviors. You intend to be supportive so you must be supportive, right?
Deluded leaders believe they’ve mastered the things they tell others to do. Consider the pursuit of excellence, for example. Are you always improving the work of others but doing things the same yourself?
- Suggestions about your behavior?
- Criticism about the way you handle tough conversations?
- Improvements suggested by underlings that impact you personally?
Excellence is the gradual result of always striving for better. Can you name one thing you’re striving to improve in your leadership? Can you name three things you’re doing to improve it? Do those under you know and participate? Or, are you deceived by intention.
You pursue excellence for others but not for yourself. The discomfort others feel in telling you the truth says you aren’t approachable. When was the last time you invited someone to speak into your frailties?
You’re not special, better than, or more important. Thinking you are deludes you.
Leaders who don’t serve rely on authority and coercion. They pressure rather than enable. Saying and telling aren’t serving.
I don’t know how you feel. But, I feel better. I needed that reminder and I bet you did, too.
Discuss with your team
How can leaders address the self-delusion issue?