darkside of leadership

Leadership and Self-Deception

I read a lot of books on leadership. Most of them are good. Every now and then one is a dud. And a few of them are great. Leadership and Self-Deception was one of the great ones. I read it years ago. About six months after I read it... I read it again. It has been many years since I read the book. I saw there is a second edition available. So I decided, I am going to read it again.

Some of this was motivated by recent study in Matthew 23 - one of the hardest chapters in the Bible. Jesus is speaking about the Pharisees... and one word appears over and over. Jesus tells them they are blind. Spiritually blind. Spiritually deceived. Self-deceived in their case.

Uncomfortable Work Situations: Which Ones Have You Been In This Past Year?

Merry Christmas Eve to Everyone

Here is another very nice intro Fast Company article about the ten most uncomfortable work situations we might find ourselves in.

Have you been in any of these this year? If so, what did you do about it? How did it turn out? What did you learn through it?

And were there any other uncomfortable ones you were in that are not on this list?

Ambivalent About Power

Benazir Bhutto quote, power has made me suffer

Power has made me suffer too much. In reality I'm ambivalent about it. It interests me because it makes it possible to change things. But it's left me with a bitter taste. Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was a remarkable leader in Pakistan. She was remarkable for many reasons, but high on that list is that she was a woman in a male dominated society. She was a global citizen living in a nation dominated by religious sectarianism. She was an advocate for progress when her adversaries wanted to regress to an oppressive status quo against civil rights. For an overview of Benazir, you can read this article. For a longer article read the Wikipedia entry.

Envy: The Sin We Can't Talk About

The Really Ugly Sin!
As if they are all not really ugly... but this one is really, really yucky. Which is why we never talk about it. Which is why we rarely make progress in it. As Dennis Okholm shows us in Dangerous Passions Deadly Sins, the ancients had penetrated deeply into the nature of this deadly vice. Here are some scattered statements from chapter six, Envy: The Silent Killer.

1.  Aquinas: Envy is a kind of sorrow for another's good that the envier perceives to be harmful to her or him self.

2.  Envy is grieving over another's good when it seems to lessen the envier's own good name.

Behaving in a Moral Way Takes Will Power!

This One Really Caught My Attention!
"Behaving in a moral way takes will power," says Alex Lickerman, M.D., author of The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing in Indestructible Self. "Unfortunately, will power is a weak mental force that declines as the day goes on or as you use it."

How many times do you hear someone talk about "people are naturally good?" Well, this particular scientific study on moral behaviors has a different vantage point. 

Signs of Danger for Leaders


Leaders, Fools and Impostors: Essays on the Psychology of Leadership.
That is the name of a short and excellent book by Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries. Manfred is a Dutch psychotherapist, leadership consultant, who is simply brilliant. While I can't say that I follow (or understand) the Freudian origins of the leadership dysfunctions he discusses, when it comes to describing the nature and experience of those dysfunctions - he is EXCELLENT.

Manfred deals with issues of power, authority, control, fear, loss, sexuality, hubris, isolation, emotional nullness (Alexithymia - your new word for the day, I am sure!), narcissism and more. Late in his book he lists the warning signs that a leader is no longer managing the balancing act and is skirting with danger (and disaster). Here are some of the signs he lists.

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