We 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.
Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR, Inc.com, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness is being released by Portfolio May 2017.