Leadership and Self-deception
In “Leadership and Self-deception”, the people at the Arbinger Institute (authors) have created a book that’s extremely thought provoking when it comes to leadership. Intended for anyone in a leadership situation, unlike many books on leadership, “Leadership and Self-deception” does not explain what leadership is. Rather, it encourages the reader to self reflect and decide for themselves what day-to-day thoughts lead to being a better leader. But even that description does the book an injustice.
The central and very simple message in the book is that we are all in what the authors call “the box”. This happens when we are not leading effectively, merely thinking about ourselves and people as objects rather than people. To get “out of the box” takes a great deal of self discipline. As the authors suggest, when we have a choice to make about how we are going to treat someone else, we always know the right decision. We can honour the decision we know to be right, or we can reject it, thus deceiving ourselves. If we reject the more appropriate choice, we then look for reasons to support our self-deception. And so we stay “in the box”. Getting out of the box means honouring the better alternative choice.
This is a great book. Written more in the form of a novel, I found myself compelled to keep reading to the end. I even found myself reacting differently to my own thoughts on how to interact with others.
I could not recommend this book more highly for anyone interested in becoming a better leader – in fact for anyone wishing to improve their people relationships.
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Ian McMaster is Head of Learning & Development at BRC Partnership who assists leaders and managers to ask themselves the pertinent and essential questions so they can be more effective in their work.
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