Book Review: Leadership and Self-Deception

Leadership and Self-Deception is written by The Arbinger Institute, a group of scholars and philosophers that are working to bring positive change to the ways leaders lead. This book is written like a fictional story about a man named Tom who starts work at a new organization. Part of the training ritual at the new company includes a day-long meeting with the executive vice-president where the vice-president explains some of the things that make the company distinctive, and helps the new employee discover things within himself which might be holding him back as a leader.

The thesis of "Leadership and Self-Deception" is that all leaders are held back from leading well in their families, workplaces and in other arenas by self-deception. Self-deception begins when the leader behaves in a way contrary to what he feels he should do for another person. That act of self-betrayal begins a cycle that skews the leader's perspective in such a way that justifies his self-betrayal to the point that he needs others to under-perform so that his feelings of self-betrayal can be justified. In that way, we live life in a box of self-deception that severely limits our capacity to lead.

The powerful thing about self-deception is that it does not limit itself to the workplace. Self-deceived leaders in the workplace are self-deceived with their spouses and children, and vice-versa. In fact, sometimes our distortions of reality become so commonplace for us we have a hard time recognizing reality anymore. Since people always know how you truly feel about them, self-deception can absolutely crater a leader's ability to lead people.

"Leadership and Self-Deception" is profound. It is an easy read that teaches a hard lesson. Yet I'm not sure I remember ever reading a leadership book with the capacity to make me a better leader to the degree of this book. If you are a leader in your business, church, home, or in another organization, this book needs to be on your "Must Read" list.

2 comments:

decotta said...

Leadership and Self-Deception simply stated hands us each with a 'thinking cap' where we are given the Choice to whether we want to wear it or not.

Thank you for this post Chris...

As much as I enjoyed the Leadership and SDecep. Book, I also found other great book finds at - arbingersea@blogspot.com which shares the book galore with Anatomy of Peace, Bonds that Makes Us Free and The Choice.

Cheers
Ben

decotta said...

Leadership and Self-Deception simply stated hands us each with a 'thinking cap' where we are given the Choice to whether we want to wear it or not.

Thank you for this post Chris...

As much as I enjoyed the Leadership and SDecep. Book, I also found other great book finds at - arbingersea@blogspot.com which shares the book galore with Anatomy of Peace, Bonds that Makes Us Free and The Choice.

Cheers
Ben