10 Tips For Leaders On How to Deal with Self-Deception

Leading others requires you to be fully aware of yourself. What are your flaws and your weaknesses? Where are your blindspots in business when it comes to working with others? If you are aware of your own biases and habits, you can counteract them and actively work to improve. Today’s post shares servant leadership tips for leaders that can improve how you view yourself, others, and your role as a leader.

Being a leader requires a lot of understanding of yourself and others. Even if you can read others and anticipate what they need, you also need to know how they see you. 

Leading is often stressful, lonely, and challenging. You’re unlikely to succeed if you don’t believe in yourself and your skill. But you cannot believe in self-deception. It’s easy to get bogged down by false ideas about leadership and what’s required of you. 

The Definition of Deception

Self-deception often involves things we tell ourselves about the world. They are beliefs not based on facts or the input of others, but we’ve tricked ourselves into believing them anyway. A common self-deception might be that someone believes they are very generous. They remember the good things they’ve done for someone but don’t remember the favors returned as easily. 

We want to believe in our positive qualities, and we also subconsciously carry a lot of beliefs we don’t realize. People hold many assumptions about leadership that aren’t based on anything. Interrogating those can help you avoid self-deception and see things how they really are. Here are some tips for leaders that cover understanding yourself, other people, and your role.

Top Ten Tips For Leaders

When trying to lead, you must have confidence, flexibility, strength, and an open mind. And a lot of the characteristics contradict themselves. You might not realize what beliefs you’ve held onto about leadership that are holding you back. Use these tips for leaders to succeed better and help your team to do the same. 

1. The Impossibility of Perfection 

You may feel the need to achieve perfection or perform perfectly every time. Every idea coming from the boss must be the very best idea. And that’s an incredibly damaging belief. It not only suggests to yourself that failure isn’t allowed, but it also tells your team that and can connect trying something new with the fear of failure. 

Failing is a part of life and often leads to great success. Setting impossibly high standards and expectations of yourself will rub off on the team. Give everyone room to make a mistake occasionally and try something different for the company’s benefit. When you permit yourself not to be perfect, you open the door to creativity and collaboration. 

2. Seek Out Reviews

Ever asked around about a restaurant because you wanted to know if it was worth going to? Think of how valuable that information and feedback would be for the restaurant. Leaders don’t always receive performance reviews or have others providing frequent feedback. Try asking around about you and your personality, even if it’s only to friends and family. Do others see you as stubborn or hotheaded? Do they bring up qualities you didn’t realize were so prevalent in your personality? 

You can also ask coworkers to chime in about how a project worked and how the chain of command functioned. Hearing what others think of you can be incredibly valuable to your future success. Take note and try to keep your eyes open to how others perceive you immediately. This is a self-deception trying to adjust reality to only how you view it. Take the comments, take some time, and learn how to use them for improvement.

3. Stay Open

Many people describe themselves as open-minded, but how many actually are? People like to form opinions and plan to stick with them, no matter what anyone else says. When trying to lead others, you must be open to new ideas. You can’t shut someone down immediately because their idea is different. Hear everyone out and listen. 

A good leader will use the best ideas to get a job done and want to involve others in decision-making. A common self-deception is that we’re more open-minded than we are. Try to accept different ideas and internally evaluate how good you’ve been about doing so in the past. You don’t have to say yes to anything, but you should hear people out and want to understand where they’re coming from. 

4. You Can Always Ask

When you first move into a leadership position, you might feel like you need to know everything. All the answers should be available to you now that you’re a leader. This is self-deception. No one has all the answers. You can and should ask for others’ input. 

You also don’t need to be a mind reader. If you aren’t sure how certain employees are getting along with tasks, ask. Don’t be afraid to confirm with others or get a second opinion. People do not expect you to know how they’re doing, and checking in can show you value them and the work they do without making assumptions. 

5. Learn From Mistakes

Failure is inevitable in some form or another. Don’t let your need for perfection or a flawless record hinder you from taking failure when it comes. Often the places where we fail offer the greatest opportunities for success. If you cannot learn from something that happened, you won’t be able to adjust and improve moving forward. 

As a leader, you are setting an example. And the way you handle failure will tell your employees a lot. Show them someone who can hear criticism and use it. You don’t have to put a happy spin on every bad outcome, and you don’t have to blow up at a disaster. Keep calm and use your head to assess what went wrong and correct it for the future. 

6. Open Communication 

There are many self-deceptions involving communication with employees. The notion is that you should never express fear or concern to others but always put on a brave face. And the idea that you should have an air of unapproachability in order to lead effectively. But you have to work with a team in order to lead. 

No one is an expert on all things, and you are leading a team of people who were hired for their skills. They want to succeed just like you do. Show your team respect by allowing them to stay informed and be involved. Don’t only share the good or only bring up the bad. Keep them up to date so everyone can work from an informed position.

7. Make Time

Some people feel that you, as the boss, don’t have time for certain issues. However, a lot of that is just a misconception. You don’t need to solve every small problem, but you should show your team that you have time for them and are committed to your job. 

As a leader, you don’t need an air of mystique. You need to show your employees through example and by being direct. Don’t be fooled by the deception that your time is somehow worth more than others. Respect both your time and the time of your team.

8. Avoid the Blame Game

Some people feel the leader is always to blame, and others want to point fingers to avert any responsibility. If you make a mistake, own up to it. Again, no one is perfect, including leaders. And showing your team that a mistake can happen and be dealt with will build trust and show that you are culpable. 

The most important thing to remember is to allow yourself to learn from mistakes. You, as a leader, are not infallible or without the possibility of improvement. Let yourself see what went wrong and how to do it better next time. 

9. Leaders Aren’t Loners

While you do have to maintain professionalism and want to command a level of respect with those you work with and lead, you aren’t alone. People cannot lead without others. Your employees are there to work for and with you and should not be viewed as others. 

No leader rises up alone, either. Think of all the people who helped you get to where you are. Some of them may still be working with you. Don’t dismiss or belittle someone in a different position. And know that for one to succeed in a team, all must succeed. 

10. Better Over Time

It’s easy to assume that things will get easier over time. Poor work ethic or mismanaged time will adjust and improve. But nothing changes unless you take action and work at it. If things aren’t going well or people are underperforming, Consider what can be done and start taking steps. Work to motivate your employees and find ways to boost morale. 

Things will not change unless you make them, so don’t wait for the newer and more successful tips for leaders. Something improved today will be doing wonders weeks from now, but it can’t happen without the initiative to change it. 

Don’t Deceive to Lead

Self-deception hinders relationships, productivity, and leadership skills. A good leader is someone who sees themselves accurately, can access their own strengths and weaknesses along with others, and maintains an open mind to different ideas. 
Everyone falls prey to self-deception occasionally, but if you know what to watch out for and apply the ten tips for leaders listed above, you’ll be in much better shape. Don’t let false narratives rule how you choose to lead. And if you want to learn more about what makes a leader, check out this webinar to add more skills to your leadership repertoire.