The Worst Lies
Words are rudders.
The most powerful words you say are the ones you say to yourself.
The worst lies you tell are the ones you tell yourself.
Self-deception blocks authentic leadership.
- Grants permission to ignore tough feedback and propagates stagnation. You don’t have the problem, they do. You’re deceiving yourself if tough feedback is always off base.
- Encourages superiority illusion. The Dunning-Kruger effect states that incompetent people substantially overestimate their abilities. Self-deceived leaders think they’re the most competent person in the room.
- Promotes blame. If you’re so competent, then someone else must be at fault when things go badly. Self-deception allows you to say “I” when things go well and “you” when it hits the fan.
7 answers for self-deception:
#1. Assume you are deceiving yourself. If you aren’t deceiving yourself, you aren’t human.
#2. Actively practice humility. The reason it’s healthy to practice humility is arrogance is a form of self-deception.
#3. Realize your strengths have a dark side. If you’re great at asking questions, you don’t give enough direction. If you’re great at getting things done, you unintentionally walk on people. If you’re great at follow through, you might be a stubborn jerk.
#4. Tell others what you’re learning. Did you learn something while reading a book? Tell your team.
#5. Use phrases that express vulnerability.
- “I didn’t know that.” Don’t pretend you knew when you didn’t.
- “I was wrong.” If you can’t remember the last time you acknowledged being wrong, you’re living in self deception.
- “I hadn’t thought of that.”
- “Wow! That’s a great idea.”
- “I screwed up.” If you aren’t making mistakes, you’re playing it too safe.
Bonus: Say, “Tell me more,” when receiving tough feedback.
If you can think of five people who need this post, but you aren’t one of them, you’re telling yourself lies.
What are some symptoms of self-deception?
How might leaders deal with self-deception?
This is a FANTASTIC post Dan!
Wow! We need to be brutally honest with ourselves. The hardest thing to say is “I screwed up,” but honesty and humility can foster better communication and collaboration.
Thanks Williams…. We feel a need to protect our status and bolster our ego. Both of these needs lend themselves to self-deception.
It’s interesting that if we overcome our need to protect status and bolster ego, we’ll end up going further!
The problem with self deception is that you don’t know your deceived. People are good at looking outwards rather than inwards. Seeking a mentor who is skilled at drawing out unseen weakness in a safe confidential environment can help.
Thanks Gerry. Your insight centers on effective self-reflection. We might think that self-reflection is best done alone. Actually, we should reflect in private and with a trusted mentor or coach, as you wisely indicate.
Excellent, the key is admitting we don’t know and then learn it, and understanding we don ‘t or ever know everything.
Often times we become good, yet an expert.
A lifetime commitment of learning till we end!
Thanks Tim. Commit to life-long learning. You nailed it. Any time we think we’ve arrived, we’re deceiving ourselves.
I didn’t need this post! (oh yes, I do!)
Thanks for sharing.😀
Good one, Seyi!
Hey Dan, great list!
I very seldom get a day when I don’t have to (not could, have to!) use all seven!
I hear you Mitch! Frankly, if we aren’t saying, “I hadn’t thought of that,” once in a while, we need to ask better questions or maybe we need a new team. 🙂 Cheers
I think this can be segmented as well. There might be areas that you show a lot of humility day to day, but in others, you are self-deceiving. It’s learning to find those different parts of yourself and others that really make us better over all
Hey Stacey. Right on! It’s interesting that we can succeed in one area and stumble in another.
Part of self-deception comes when we transfer our “success” in one area to all of life. I’m good at giving feedback and planning, therefore I’m a great manager.
We can be great in one area and lousy in another. That’s normal. It’s the way things are. 🙂