In the context of the conversation on “influence,” my friend, Lisa Kohn turned me on to The Arbinger Institute’s work on Leadership and Self-Deception. Not a new book (first published in 2000), but quite useful in this context.
The main idea, in any leadership role, we must first look deeply at ourselves– and understand how our experiences and motives impact our view of others.
“Self-deception, blinds us to the true causes of problems, and once we’re blind, all the ‘solutions’ we can think of will actually make matters worse. Whether at work or at home, self-deception obscures the truth about ourselves, corrupts our view of others and our circumstances, and inhibits our ability to make wise and helpful decisions.”
The first obstacle is understanding when we are operating from a less than objective place.
The irony is that even when we think we are working on a conflict, or working on ourselves, we can’t really do it, if there is self-deception involved.
From a place like this, it’s tough to.
change ourselves (because we don’t believe we need to)
implement new skills or techniques (because we are not truly open)
communicate clearly (because we are not sure how it will be received)
reach compromise (because we believe our way is right)