Calling Out Hypocritical Leaders
“The greatest harm in the world has been done by people with good intentions.” Anonymous
The most destructive hypocrites believe they’re authentic. They have good intentions but don’t see their own inconsistency.
Teams are destroyed by hypocritical leaders.
The most destructive hypocrite is a sincere hypocrite with influence. Obscurity protects society from the unknown hypocrite.
A well-known hypocrite causes more damage than an obscure one.
The more influence you have, the greater your potential to corrupt.
Hypocritical leaders who feel authentic destroy organizations.
Self-deceived hypocritical leaders:
Hypocritical leaders say people matter and act like they don’t.
Leaders who say, “It’s all about the people,” but spend their days building systems, making plans, and signing papers are hypocrites. They might be sincere but they say one thing and do another.
Sincerity makes idiots of leaders when it’s the reason they don’t examine themselves.
Leaders who say, “It’s all about the people,” but avoid people are self-deceived.
Leaders who say it’s all about the people but run around barking at people like frightened lapdogs with bulbous eyes are the worst kind of hypocrite. Micromanagers don’t believe it’s about the people. They believe it’s about themselves.
There is a type of hypocrisy that has enough sense to see its own absurdity. Micromanagers don’t see the absurdity of their own inconsistency.
The answer is people.
The answer to organizational challenges is people. You might protest, “What about planning and action?” Who do you think makes plans and takes action?
Programs and systems are helpful but extraneous apart from people. Additionally, leaders who create systems that drain people are hypocrites, regardless of sincerity.
Reject sincere hypocrisy.
- Leadership is about people.
- Pour yourself into people.
- Invite people to pour themselves into you.
- Look for answers in people because people are the answer.
What do people-centric organizations look like?
Hypocritical Leaders Make Poor Leaders
Spot on, Dan! Working under a self-deceived hypocritical (i.e., delusional) leader was a case of learning from a bad example. This leader loved to tout an open door policy, but those who accepted that invitation once never did so again. His well-intended words were nothing more than superficial fluff that undermined everything he subsequently said. His hypocrisy impaired his leadership, team morale and organizational effectiveness. What a great example of leadership behavior to avoid!
Thanks Paul. Superficial fluff undermines everything else we say. (That’s so good.)
Pay attention to the language people use. I once worked for someone who told us that all suggestions should be passed up “the chain of empowerment”. You can guess how many suggestions were made after that.
Thanks Jennifer. Words matter. We don’t realize how we unintentionally self-sabotage. Normal people don’t intentionally shoot themselves in the foot.
As I heard one manager yell: “Of course it’s about the people! Everything that goes wrong, it’s caused by the people!”
Seriously though, what you are describing is what happens in the vast majority of workplaces. But then again, if you had an organisation that outright said “we don’t care about people, come here and expect to be treated like an oily rag”, who would go work there?
Thanks Mitch. You’re opening sentence cracks me up! Love it.
You touch on an important idea. Be sure your words line up with reality. Wouldn’t it be interesting if leaders spoke the truth.
The good news is leaders want to do well and treating people well is part of doing well. One reason coercion and punishment is necessary is we aren’t treating people well.
BRAVO!!! I have lived it and survived to talk about it!
Thanks Jules. Yes…don’t let negative things control you. Very encouraging.