Leadership & Self-Deception: The Woes of Being a Leader

When we were handed the book, Leadership and Self Deception we were given a very cautious warning. “This book can be very dangerous” was said over and over again. To an extent I thought I was going to read something regarding “why you should run away from student affairs” or a “you thought you were a great leader?…… SIKE”. Frankly that was a slightly extra way of looking at it but I think overall the book dove deeper into ourselves as “leaders” in everyday situations. Leaders are not only the people who drive a team to success or get their work done way before the deadline but someone who is constantly thinking about the future and where to go next.

How many times has it been shoved down our throats that “oh you’re such a great leader!” and felt like a boost in our ego has incurred. We held our heads high and walked in triumph. Why? Well because it’s well deserved. I think that’s the real danger in leadership, it’s constantly telling people they’re awesome, and while they might be sometimes it can go a little way too into their heads. The feeling of invincibility is sure to be felt and no feat is even a feat to begin with. This get’s complicated real quick….

The book touched on self deception; a term essentially used to justify us getting our way, no matter what. We all have a moral compass right? It seems that sometimes people use it more than others, and it’s harder to justify when people spill their beer on us at the baseball game or when someone cuts us off on the highway.  Sometimes I’ve found myself in situations where I try to skew someone’s decision to fall into my ideal situation, it would make things 100% easier if the person just agreed with us. When they don’t, we get upset when it doesn’t go our way. Yet we’re the only ones aware of this. Why are we upset? Is it because we thought we had the almighty answer and someone didn’t agree. We got to let go of our pride because what’s it worth to always be upset that things didn’t go our way.

Collusion also spoke to me. Over my years of working I’ve encountered people who’ve I’ve adored working with and some who I dreaded seeing every so often. When a person crosses us in  a negative light, we see them as the worst person possible. Everything they do is terrible, and the misconception of “they’re probably just as terrible everywhere else too”. So at this point we hold a deep negative perception of this person and we use everything they do or say against them to fit in our perception of being a bad person. If they did something that wasn’t questionable or even out of bounds, we have a tendency to find reasons that don’t exist to back up this behavior.

Overall at the end of the day, we all got to realize we’re just another human on an earth filled with a lot of other complex humans and seeing them as so. Putting ourselves in a humbling sense of self is crucial before we implode down a hole of “What ifs” and “this person is just trying to get at me”. Chill.