Are You Lying to Yourself About Your Leadership?

By in Blog, Character, Communication, Integrity, Lead From Within, Leadership, Leadership Development, Life Balance, Life Skills, Mission, Passion, Personal Development, Purpose, Relationships, Values, Vision, Workplace

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 7.43.20 AMWe all try to think well of ourselves, but there are lies we can tell ourselves that do harm to ourselves. Maybe we fear being vulnerable, but we end up insulating ourselves from truths we need, and the cost is high.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these untruths? If so, it may be time to have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself:

1. I am in control. Control is an illusion. As a leader, you must allow yourself to drop the illusion of control and let your leadership lead you. Focus on the things you can control and let the rest go.

2. I can do this on my own. No one does anything alone. No matter what accomplishments you have achieved, you didn’t do it on your own. It takes a great team, a wonderful group of talented people to make an impact. Ask yourself who has contributed to your success.

3. I don’t have time. Time is precious—for everyone, and maybe especially so for leaders—but there is always time in the day for what is important. Telling yourself you can’t meet a priority because of time is just making excuses.

4. If I ignore it, it will go away. It’s sad but true: there are times we all still fall for this old lie. Most of the time what we ignore grows bigger and becomes even more cumbersome. Whatever is happening, deal with it. You can’t change what you refuse to confront.

5. I always know best. Really, is that the truth? Leadership is about inclusion and learning, not about being right. Not all leaders know what’s best or have the all the answers, and the best focus on continuing to learn and grow. If you think you know, look around to see where you can ask more questions.

6. I’m a good listener. There’s a big difference between truly listening and waiting patiently for your turn to speak. One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say. And for leaders, the art of conversation lies in listening.

7. My ego does not get in the way. Nothing destroys leadership faster than ego. The next time you feel yours getting out of check—which can happen to any of us once in a while—remember that nobility doesn’t lie in being superior to anyone else but, but in growing beyond the person you once were.

8. Everybody does it. It’s a leader’s responsibility to know the difference between right and wrong, no matter what anybody else says or does. You can never be right by doing wrong, and you can never be wrong by doing right.

9. People don’t need praise. We may like to think that people operate independently of our actions. But when people don’t get enough recognition, when they feel nobody cares, a big part of their motivation vanishes. What you praise increases; what you ignore becomes invisible and ineffective.

10. Emotion is weakness. Some leaders want to hold themselves beyond emotion to appear strong. But to share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable, and to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength. The best leaders touch hearts, and that truth always works.

11. Sometimes you have to cut corners to get ahead. The only way to lead is to lead with integrity and high standards. Always put your best foot forward—life is too short to waste it by living below your standards.

12. I’m not here to make friends. The old school of leadership will tell you that leaders can’t be friends because it may lead to favoritism. But like friendship, true leadership involves selflessness and concern for the well-being of others, acting for their benefit rather than personal gain.

There will always be lies we tell ourselves, but self-awareness requires that we look beyond them to discover the truth about ourselves and those around us.

Honesty costs nothing, and lying could cost you everything. When you tell the truth, it becomes a part of your past. When you lie, it becomes a part of your future

Lead from within: Lies are often temporary solutions to permanent problem. Listen to the lies you speak and learn how to tell yourself the truth.

Additional Reading:

Photo: Getty

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19 Responses to “Are You Lying to Yourself About Your Leadership?”

  1. Susan Mary Malone

    26. Jan, 2016

    We all can fall into these traps, Lolly. Love the comprehensive list!
    I recently heard a quote from Fr. Richard Rohr, addressing #1. He said the opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is control.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Caleb

    26. Jan, 2016

    Really good information, thanks for sharing. This will help me communicate better with my workers!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Janice Butts

    27. Jan, 2016

    The title grabbed me immediately. All good stuff. Every point you make is valid and your follow up is poignant. Thanks

    Reply to this comment
  4. Bruce Fisher

    27. Jan, 2016

    Very well done—concise and to the point.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Steve Spicer

    27. Jan, 2016

    Well done!
    Lolly, you have captured this “Lie/Truth” exercise for leaders very well! Thank you!
    In our ministry we place a great deal of emphasis on this leadership behavior; i.e., separating the “lies from the truth” within ourselves. As Christians, Jesus is the Truth and how great it is to focus on Him!
    Thank you again for sharing your TOP 12 … good job!

    Reply to this comment
  6. Paula Dickson

    28. Jan, 2016

    Every one who considers themselves a leader should read this and take it to heart. It is so easy to fall into these traps. The sad part is we fall so deep that we really believe.

    Reply to this comment
  7. john

    28. Jan, 2016

    This is a great list. There are a lot of passive and defensive styles that come out of the old performance management processes that reinforce these blind spots. It makes one wonder how many leaders have people who start the day with purpose and finish with any sense of accomplishment.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Gabriel Njonjo

    31. Jan, 2016


    Reply to this comment
  9. Eullah

    03. Feb, 2016

    Once again you prove that you mean a lot to me….
    I was reading your blog as much as possible and only by listening to you, I am being more matured.

    By reading all those, I have decided to leave my present company by trading off my postion and now I am heading to Nestle.

    Respect Lolly !!

    Reply to this comment
  10. Lori A. King

    03. Feb, 2016

    Hi Lolly,
    Great list to remember as we go through our days. Sure, I have slipped on many of these, I’m human; but I am not telling myself lies. Leadership isn’t a destination, it’s a process. If we remember that, it will help us stay on track.
    Thanks, I always enjoy your insight.

    Reply to this comment
  11. ben odoi

    17. Feb, 2016

    the content you share have power of changing minds

    Reply to this comment
  12. Nabil.M

    17. Feb, 2016

    Internal leadership, to myself , in order to be successful. It requires not lying to oneself. I love success. So I do not like to lie to myself.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Chris Banzet

    22. Feb, 2016

    There’s one important dynamics though, which I feel is genuinely missing here. First, let me say, this is “well written” and “spot on” with some of the quirky thoughts leaders think. But there is one “human element” that never seems to actually make it into these types of articles, but absolutely is true in the real life unfolding of challenges leadership faces.

    Leaders don’t know “everything” and sometimes, we just simply make an earnest mistake!

    There’s some leaders who just cannot accept the reality that we all make mistakes. Sometimes, we’re just blind to evidence that normally we would not miss. Other times, it is something “completely” out of our realm and we just simply didn’t know it!

    This isn’t “incompetency” this is human experience at its best! In fact, I think one of the “greatest” levels of awareness that upper executives seem to lose the essence of value in, is that no matter how good we become, we’re “still human”!

    If you are “aware” of something, and find yourself in one of the numbers above, then by all means, please listen to the strategies here. But, also take number 5 above “I always know best” and split that into a secondary part.. “sometimes, I totally didn’t know or see that coming at all” as Lolly mentions, Truth is one of the strongest characters a leader has! But, the sad part is, there’s a lot of people out there who have a HIGH level of integrity when interacting with others, but not such a high level of integrity when being honest with the man in the mirror…:)

    Reply to this comment
  14. Ramji

    13. Mar, 2016

    It’s help me to find my inner voice!!! Thank you for it!!!

    Reply to this comment
  15. Williamapob

    06. May, 2016

    God Bless you man. Have a nice day. Bye

    Reply to this comment


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